Mexican drug traffickers are known for using tunnels to move narcotics under the border, into the United States (and help drug lords escape from prison). A federal drug bust last week marked the first time such a tunnel has been discovered in Calexico, CA , in a decade. More monumentally, it was the first time that drug dealers are known to have purchased property, and constructed a house, for the sole purpose of hiding a drug tunnel.
According to reports, the alleged drug crew purchased a parcel of land in Calexico for $240,000 in April 2015. When the house was being built on the land, the crew, allegedly, told the contractor to leave space for a floor safe when it came time to pour cement for the foundation. In December of that year, the crew rented a “walk behind saw and concrete blade,” supposedly to create an exit for the 415 yard tunnel, which started at the El Sarape Restaurant in Mexicali, Mexico. Upon completion, the three-bedroom, two-bath house had cost a total of $86,000.
The DEA reports:
According to court records, the drug traffickers used another residence four miles from the tunnel exit as a stash house at 1056 Horizon Street, Calexico, to store the smuggled narcotics. Eventually, the traffickers moved the narcotics from that stash location to a warehouse located at 260 Avenida Campillo, Suite A, Calexico, where the smuggled narcotics were stored until they could be moved northbound by the transportation cells.
Drivers transported the marijuana from the tunnel exit to a stash house and then to the Santo Thomas Swap Meet in Calexico, where a new driver would transport the load to another stash location. Thus drivers taking contraband to the Horizon Warehouse Street site were not aware of the original stash location at the Third Street property. Using multiple locations and multiple drivers is a means for drug traffickers to compartmentalize their operations and keep various players in the dark about the organization’s methods.
When the feds had the play nailed down, a ton of trees was seized. Four people were arrested in Calexico and Arizona, on “various drug trafficking, money laundering and tunnel-related charges, including conspiracy to import a controlled substance and conspiracy to use border tunnels and passages.”