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Latin America

Mexican police uncover secret drug tunnel used by ‘El Chapo’s’ cartel

The 800-meter-long passageway runs under the US-Mexican border from Tijuana

El Chapo Guzmán
The tunnel found on Wednesday was used to ship drugs across the border to the US. AFP

Mexican police have discovered an elaborate tunnel used to transport drugs from Mexico to the United States that they believed was dug by Joaquín El Chapo Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel.

The 800-meter passageway runs from a site in Tijuana, on the Mexican side, and surfaces in a house in San Diego, California in the United States. The structure where the tunnel ends in the US has only been partially built.

The 800-meter passageway linked Tijuana, on the Mexican side, with San Diego, California

Sixteen men between the ages of 21 and 50 worked at the site. They told Mexican authorities that they were operating on behalf of “a criminal organization” from Jalisco. But officials doubted their story because all of the men, except for one, are from Sinaloa – Guzmán’s home state.

Anonymous sources have told Reuters that the tunnel was indeed the work of the Sinaloa cartel.

Mexican authorities – who were tipped off by US Homeland Security officials, according to AP – also said they confiscated around 10 tons of marijuana in connection with the investigation.

This is the second time that police have found an underground tunnel between Mexico and the United States since El Chapo escaped from a maximum security prison on July 11 using a similar secret 1.5-kilometer passageway dug underneath his jail cell.

The latest tunnel, which was discovered on Wednesday night, has all the trademarks of a Sinaloa operation, including ventilation, lighting and rail tracks to move drug shipments.

It is similar to one discovered on August 4 and, according to the Mexican government, the one that El Chapo used to flee Altiplano prison outside Mexico City this summer.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mexico’s attorney general announced the arrest of 34 people for allegedly aiding in Guzman’s escape, including his brother-in-law, Édgar Coronel, who is said to have orchestrated the daring jail break.

Officials also confirmed that El Chapo injured his leg and face during a pursuit that took place earlier this month.

The Mexican army and navy have concentrated their search for the wanted drug lord in the rugged area known as the Golden Triangle in the Sierra Madre mountain range that borders Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua states.

English version by Martin Delfín.

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