HomeNewsBriefUS Shuts Down Mexico Narco 'Super Tunnel'
BRIEF

US Shuts Down Mexico Narco 'Super Tunnel'

MEXICO / 1 NOV 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

A drug smuggling "super tunnel" linking Mexico and the United States, shut down on Wednesday, was one of the most sophisticated ever discovered, revealing the increasingly advanced use of technology by Mexican cartels.

More than 500 meters long, and linking Tijuana with the Californian city of San Diego, the tunnel was equipped with a railway line, electricity and ventilation, reported the BBC.

US officials said the construction of such a tunnel required architects, engineers and laborers and could have cost more than $1 million, meaning only well-financed cartels could build them, reported the New York Times. It was "the largest, most sophisticated tunnel uncovered along the southern border in two years," said US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). US Attorney Laura Duffy said it had been built by the Sinaloa Cartel, reported Proceso.

It had taken about a year to build, but was shut down before it went into operation, following three weeks of surveillance, reported the New York Times. Eight tons of marijuana and 325 pounds of cocaine -- valued at nearly $12 million -- were seized, and three people were arrested as part of the operation, reported ICE. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Illicit tunnels running under the US border from Mexico have been used by criminal organizations for years, with more than 150 discovered between 1990 and 2011. In recent years they have increased significantly in their sophistication, with the first so-called "super tunnel" equipped with light, rail and ventilation discovered in 2010. The construction of illegal tunnels increased by 80 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to US authorities. Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is alleged to have developed a particular expertise in the method.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Sinaloa Cartel

San Diego Special Agent William Sherman blamed "desperation" for the fact cartels were using different types of technology to move cocaine, but innovation would be a more accurate word. The big criminal organizations have the money and man power to invest in researching and creating ever more advanced drug smuggling methods, reflected in the use of ultra-light aircraft and increasingly sophisticated narco-submarines.

Tunnels have been used not just to transport drugs but also to funnel illegal migrants, arms and contraband into the United States.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 9 JAN 2017

As Mexico is rocked by protests against a hike in fuel prices, authorities have highlighted the collusion and corruption facilitating…

MEXICO / 26 AUG 2011

A Mexican court has confirmed the release of the former mayor of Tijuana, Jorge Hank Rhon, after rejecting an…

MEXICO / 26 JUN 2018

The discovery of two dismembered bodies in downtown Mexico City, the most recent in a series of violent acts, contradicts…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…