Crime and Violence

Two drug tunnels connecting to Tijuana found near San Diego, California

U.S. authorities investigate the discovery of two drug tunnels connecting Otay Mesa and Tijuana. Photo: ICE.
U.S. authorities investigate the discovery of two drug tunnels connecting Otay Mesa and Tijuana. Photo: ICE.

04/15/14 (written by callison) — Two new, elaborate drug tunnels were discovered in the beginning of April outside of San Diego, California thanks to a five-month investigation by the San Diego Tunnel Task force and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The tunnels—which connected the border towns of Tijuana, Mexico and Otay Mesa, just south of San Diego—spanned between 600 and 700 yards long, and showed high levels of sophistication, equipped with lights, railways, and ventilation systems; one with a pulley system to hoist and move narcotics, and the other with a “multi-tiered electric rail system.” Authorities claim the first tunnel originated in an Otay Mesa-warehouse that had a front as a toy storage facility. The second tunnel, the more elaborate of the two, connected with a nearby warehouse in Otay Mesa and was discovered a day after. Neither of the tunnels reportedly contained drugs, arms, or weapons.

Federal officials have since arrested Glenny Rodriguez, a 73-year-old resident of Chula Vista, California, on charges of supervising the tunnels, warehouse, and illegal activity. Rodriguez’s neighbors and friends strongly deny her complicity, arguing, “She could not” and “would not be involved… She just goes to her office every day.” Rodriguez is being held without bail as judicial proceedings unfold.

These two tunnels mark the sixth and seventh exposed passageways near San Diego in the past four years, the ninth and tenth tunnels in the area since 2006, and the most recent since another Otay Mesa tunnel discovery in October 2013. According to Reuters, in all tunnels found along the entire U.S.-Mexico border since 2006, federal authorities have seized approximately 100 tons of narcotics from 80 tunnels, the majority of which have been found in California and Arizona. In light of the most recent discovery, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy stated, “Here we are again, foiling cartel plans to sneak millions of dollars of illegal drugs through secret passageways that cost millions of dollars to build… going underground is not a good business plan.”


“Three suspects arrested after drug tunnel found between San Diego and Tijuana.” Justice in Mexico. November 10, 2013.

Whitcomb, Dan. “Two drug tunnels, with rail systems, found at U.S.-Mexico border.” Reuters. April 4, 2014.

“Localizan dos túneles del narco en frontera México – EE.UU.” Diario de Yucatán. April 4, 2014.

Gomez, Elena et. al. “2 Border Tunnels Uncovered in San Diego.” NBC San Diego. April 5, 2014.

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