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Drug Smugglers' Tunnel Filled With Concrete

April 05, 2002|From Associated Press

TIERRA DEL SOL, Calif. — Workers began destroying a tunnel beneath the U.S.-Mexico border that authorities believe was used to smuggle tons of marijuana and cocaine into California during the past two to three years.

A construction crew on Thursday began pouring concrete into the portion of the 1,000-foot tunnel on U.S. soil.

An anonymous tip led authorities to the tunnel, which runs from the eastern outskirts of Tecate, Mexico, to a private home in Tierra del Sol, a rural community 60 miles east of San Diego. U.S. officials found 500 pounds of marijuana near the entrance of the tunnel when agents entered it through the empty home Feb. 27.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration originally planned to destroy the tunnel with explosives. Officials changed their minds out of environmental concerns and the U.S. landowner's fear that it would reduce the value of his property.

The owner said he was not aware of the tunnel and was not charged in the case.

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