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New drug tunnel linking Tijuana, San Diego is found, authorities say

SAN DIEGO -- U.S. authorities said Thursday they have discovered a major cross-border drug tunnel in a warehouse district where several other tunnels linking San Diego and Tijuana have been found in recent years.

The tunnel was uncovered Wednesday night by members of the multi-agency San Diego Tunnel Task Force, which is headed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was recently completed and "highly sophisticated," according to Lauren Mack, an agency spokeswoman.

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Three suspects are in custody. Officials said more than eight tons of marijuana and 325 pounds of cocaine were seized in connection with the tunnel investigation.

According to Tijuana media reports, municipal police and military forces secured the tunnel entry inside a building just west of the Otay Mesa port of entry near the Tijuana International Airport.

It was described as a well-constructed passageway similar to other large tunnels in recent years that feature cart and rail systems, lighting and ventilation. The tunnels are financed by Mexican drug cartels to ferry large loads of marijuana and other drugs into California.

More details are expected at a Thursday afternoon news conference.

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Twitter: @lanow

richard.marosi@latimes.com

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