Agents Foil Methamphetamine Smuggling Attempt and Discover Sophisticated Cross-Border Tunnel

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Arrest of man with scuba gear and methamphetamine led to a tunnel discovery
Arrest of man with scuba gear and methamphetamine led to a tunnel discovery

CALEXICO, Calif. – On Saturday, El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Calexico Station foiled an illegal narcotics smuggling attempt of more than 69 pounds of methamphetamine and subsequently discovered a sophisticated, cross-border tunnel.

The initial incident occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m., when Border Patrol agents operating a Remote Video Surveillance System observed four men on the south bank of the All-American Canal near Calexico attempting to smuggle narcotics into the United States.

Border Patrol agents responded to the location and arrested one man in the canal wearing a wet-suit while the other three fled back to Mexico. During the arrest and while searching the area, agents discovered scuba diving equipment and 25 vacuum sealed packages containing 69 pounds of methamphetamine.

The arrest and discovery of the scuba diving equipment prompted an investigation by the U.S. Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations who make up the California Corridor Campaign also knows as C-3; a multi-government effort to combat transnational threats.

Later on Monday, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Border Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) unit, conducted a search of the area where the arrest and narcotic seizure occurred and discovered a sophisticated cross-border tunnel of approximately 230 feet in length and a diameter of approximately 4 feet by 4 feet, with lighting and ventilation that travels from a house in Mexico into the United States.

Agents assigned to C-3, in coordination with authorities from the Mexican Federal Police, Secretaria de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) and Mexicali Municipal Police were able to find the tunnel’s point of origin in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.

“This is outstanding work by the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol, the seizure and discovery of this tunnel is a significant blow to the transnational criminal organizations,” said Chief Patrol Agent Carla Provost. “The collaborated efforts by our C-3 partners, in the U.S. and Mexico, exemplify the U.S. governments’ unified front against these criminal organizations who pose a threat to national security.”

This is the first tunnel found in the Calexico Border Patrol Station’s area of responsibility during fiscal year 2015. Last fiscal year, El Centro Sector seized more than 445 pounds of methamphetamine.

Man arrested with 25 vacuum sealed packages of methamphetamine valued at $694,000
Man arrested with 25 vacuum sealed packages of methamphetamine valued at $694,000