United States federal authorities recently unearthed an enormous drug-smuggling tunnel that stretched from a house in Mexico to an abandoned KFC restaurant in Arizona, according to Fox News.
The abandoned fast food restaurant was in an ideal location to slip drugs into the country, standing just 600 ft inside the U.S./Mexico border. The passage is reportedly large enough for a grown man to walk through comfortably.
On the Mexican side smugglers could enter the tunnel through a trap door beneath a bed, according to Fox. However, on the US side its entrance was only 8 inches in diameter. Authorities believe that narcotics smuggled through the tunnel were pulled to the surface using a rope.
The drug smuggling operation was uncovered after police witnessed a man loading several toolboxes from the abandoned KFC and onto his truck, Fox reports. Police pulled over Ivan Lopez, the owner of the building, and searched the truck, finding $1,165,800 worth of narcotics stashed in the toolboxes.
“[Lopez had] over 118 kilograms of methamphetamine, over six kilograms of cocaine, over three kilograms of fentanyl, over 13 kilograms of white heroin and over six kilograms of brown heroin,” said Scott Brown, a Homeland Security Investigations special agent. “Just the three kilograms of fentanyl translates to over 3 million dosage units.”
Video of the tunnel showed it was 22 feet deep and 590 feet long with wooden planks lining the wall. The tunnel connected the abandoned San Luis KFC restaurant to a home in San Luis Rio Colorado in the state of Sonora, Mexico.
Drug tunnels are not uncommon along the southern border of the United States. The Customs and Border Protection agency has uncovered nearly 200 tunnels since 1990. In 2016 a 2,400 ft long tunnel, equipped with a rail system, ventilation, lights, and a large elevator, was found in an industrial part of San Diego, where trucks and construction often went unnoticed. Another tunnel was found in a Tijuana home, RT reports.
Homeland Security investigators and Yuma Border Patrol agents were investigating the incident.