For the eighth time in seven years, federal drug authorities have discovered a major tunnel that is believed have been built by the Sinaloan drug cartel, which controls the so-called plaza, or theater of operations along the California-Mexico border. The cartel's leader, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the world's richest men, remains at large after escaping from a Mexican prison ten years ago.
The tunnel was clearly the work of a sophisticated criminal organization since it led between two buildings on either side of the border and came complete with lighting, ventilation and even an electronic rail system to transport the contraband. According to authorities, they had been monitoring the construction of the tunnel for several weeks and seized eight tons of marijuana and--in what is apparently a historical first--325 pounds of cocaine.
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According to the New York Times, which ran a prominent story on the tunnel discovery today, the tunnel is one of the most well-designed of its kind that the feds have found so far, estimated to have cost at least $1 million to construct, and requiring not just an army of workers but an architect and other design experts.
Eight tons is a lot of marijuana, but it's still three tons less than what the feds seized from a similar operation in late 2011. No word yet on whether the weed is just typical Mexican brick weed, low quality stuff that would only sell on the black market, or if any of it was medical quality-type ganja, which the cartels have recently begun trying to sneak into the U.S.
Send your story tips to the author, Nick Schou.