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12 arrested after authorities discover tunnel from Mexico into San Diego

December 2, 2009 |  3:06 pm

Tunnel1 Mexican authorities discovered a large cross-border tunnel today and arrested more than a dozen men inside the passageway that extended about 860 feet into San Diego, U.S. authorities said.

The tunnel, which was not complete, featured lighting, electrical and ventilation systems, and an elevator to move materials and workers to depths reaching 100 feet, authorities said. They estimate it was under construction for about two years in a warehouse district just west of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

Mexican authorities in Tijuana were acting on information provided by the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, which includes agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

It was the latest in a series of tunnel discoveries in recent weeks under the California-Mexico border. The passageways are used by Mexican organized crime groups to ferry drugs into the U.S.

-- Richard Marosi in San Diego

Photo: tunnel entrance. Credit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.