US border cops have discovered the longest drug smuggling tunnel ever found on the border with Mexico.
Stretching 4,309ft, it has a lift, railroad track, drainage and air ventilation systems plus electric power.
It starts in an industrial site in the Mexican city of Tijuana to the San Diego area in California.
While there were no arrests, no drugs found at the site and no confirmed exit point in the US, the length of more than 14 football fields stunned authorities.
The area in which the tunnel was dug has been a stronghold of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel which was run by Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, who was sentenced to life in prison in July, The Sun reported.
Lance LeNoir, a Border Patrol operations supervisor, said: “This one blows past (the second-longest).
“We never really thought they had the moxie to go that far.
“They continue to surprise me.”
The tunnel exposes limitations of Donald Trump’s border wall, which stretches several feet underground in the area and is considered effective against small, crudely built tunnels often called gopher holes.
The one announced yesterday was found about 70 feet underground, well below the wall.
Following the discovery in August, Mexican law enforcement identified the entrance and US investigators mapped the tunnel that extends a total of 4,309 feet.
The next longest tunnel in the US was discovered in San Diego in 2014.
It was 2,966 feet long.
The newly discovered tunnel is about 5.5 feet tall and two feet wide and runs at an average depth of 70 feet below the surface, officials said.
Agents discovered several hundred sandbags blocking a suspected former exit of the tunnel in San Diego’s Otay Mesa industrial warehouse area.
It went under several warehouses in Otay Mesa, where sophisticated tunnels have typically ended, and extended into open fields.
US authorities say they are confident that the tunnel exited in San Diego at one time, based on its trajectory.
Mr LeNoir, a veteran on the multi agency task force of tunnel investigators known as tunnel rats, said he made his way through about 50 feet of sugar sacks blocking the tunnel but couldn’t go any farther.
An incomplete offshoot of the tunnel that extended 3,529 feet suggested to authorities that smugglers had plugged an initial exit point and were building another.
The suspected previous exit became unsustainable for whatever reason, so they built a spur, Border Patrol spokesman Jeff Stephenson said.
By federal law, authorities must fill the US side of tunnels with concrete after they are discovered.
Source: The Sun