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Truck driver pleads guilty to hauling tons of marijuana smuggled into U.S. in tunnel

January 20, 2011 |  5:58 pm

A 29-year-old Oceanside man pleaded guilty Thursday to hauling nearly 20,000 pounds of marijuana to distribution locations in California after the pot was smuggled into the U.S. through a narcotics tunnel.

Carlos Cunningham admitted in federal court in San Diego to driving truckloads of pot from a warehouse in San Diego near the tunnel's opening. He faces a mandatory prison sentence of at least 10 years.

The tunnel was discovered Nov. 2. Federal agents seized 28,782 pounds of marijuana inside the warehouse. Mexican authorities seized 9,878 pounds of marijuana at the tunnel's entrance inside a home in Tijuana.

Driving a tractor-trailer, Cunningham made multiple stops throughout Southern California, authorities said. Cunningham was arrested at the Temecula checkpoint along Interstate 15 while driving north to make deliveries.

--Tony Perry in San Diego