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Drug smuggling tunnel uncovered near Mexio-California border

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jan 06, 2013

MEXICALI, Mexico (CBS News) — Mexican authorities discovered a partially completed smuggling tunnel on Saturday in the Baja California border city of Mexicali.

In a Twitter post, Mexicali Public Security Director Marco Carrillo Maza said that the tunnel was 33 feet underground, 98 feet long and 1.6 feet wide, and that it included ventilation and lighting systems.

The tunnel entrance was discovered in an empty building adjacent to a gas station.

Maza added that one suspect, a 29-year old male from the state of Veracruz, was detained during the operation, which was conducted after authorities received an anonymous tip.

Mexicali is just across the border from the city of Calexico, California.

Under pressure from tightened security along the nearly 3,200-km (2,000-mile) southern border in recent years, cash-flush Mexican cartels have increasingly resorted to boring tunnels, particularly to Arizona and California, where geological conditions are favorable.

In the past 10 years, at least 89 cross-border tunnels have been discovered in Arizona and 50 in California, according to figures released in July by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).