Feds bust drug smuggling ring using tunnel under US-Mexico border

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Drug Traffickers Tunnel Under U.S.-Mexico Border - Police

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) -- U.S. federal agents have arrested four people and seized nearly 3,000 pounds of marijuana in an operation to bust a drug smuggling ring that had tunneled under the U.S.-Mexico border, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

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The smugglers built a house to hide the northern entrance to the 400-yard (365 meters) tunnel in Calexico, the U.S. Attorney's Office for southern California said.

The southern end of the tunnel came up in El Sarape restaurant in Mexicali, authorities said.

See more of the bust and the tunnel in the gallery below:

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Feds bust drug smuggling ring using tunnel under US-Mexico border
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It is the first smuggling tunnel found in more than 10 years in Calexico, a small city of about 40,000 people some 120 miles (193 km) east of San Diego, but the 12th discovered along Mexico's border with California since 2006.

The rest of the tunnels were found in the San Diego area.

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The smugglers purchased the land last April and by the time construction wrapped up in December, federal investigators were using wiretaps and watching activity at the house, charging documents said.

"This house and tunnel were constructed under the watchful eye of law enforcement," said Laura Duffy, U.S. Attorney for Southern California.

Federal agents continued to monitor the house, a separate safe house in Calexico and four suspects until the first loads of marijuana came through at the end of February.

On Mar. 7, investigators seized 1,350 pounds of pot that came through the tunnel as it was being transported through the Los Angeles area, according to federal documents.

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On Tuesday, a mother and daughter who were allegedly part of the ring were arrested in nearby Nogales, Arizona.

On Wednesday, federal investigators arrested two men in Calexico -- one at the tunnel house and one at the safe house -- and seized an additional 1,532 pounds of marijuana from the tunnel.

The suspects will be charged with conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana, prosecutors said.

RELATED: Dangerous cities across America according to the FBI

44 PHOTOS
Most dangerous, violent cities in each state
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Feds bust drug smuggling ring using tunnel under US-Mexico border

43. Honolulu, Hawaii had 11.6 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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42. Boise, Idaho had 13.5 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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41. Fargo, North Dakota had 14.6 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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40. Eugene, Oregon had 15.3 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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39. Lincoln, Nebraska had 17.4 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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38. Sioux Falls, South Dakota had 20.6 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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37. Billings, Montana had 21.1 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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36. Norfolk, Virginia had 24.5 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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35. Providence, Rhode Island had 26.6 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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34. Manchester, New Hampshire had 28.9 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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33. Louisville, Kentucky had 30.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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32. South Bend, Indiana had 32.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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31. Tucson, Arizona had 32.4 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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30. North Charleston, South Carolina had 34.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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29. Tacoma, Washington had 36.6 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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28. Salt Lake City, Utah had 38.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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27. Des Moines, Iowa had 38.7 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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26. Pueblo, Colorado had 41.6 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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25. Tulsa, Oklahoma had 41.5 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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24. New Orleans, Louisiana had 42.7 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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23. Durham, North Carolina had 42.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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22. Jackson, Mississippi had 43.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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21. North Las Vegas, Nevada had 43.4 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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20. Wichita, Kansas had 45.5 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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19. Albuquerque, New Mexico had 48.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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18. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had 49.1 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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17. Buffalo, New York had 50.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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16. Newark, New Jersey had 50.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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15. Odessa, Texas had 51.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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14. Tallahassee, Florida had 52.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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13. Anchorage, Alaska had 53.6 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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12. Springfield, Massachusetts had 54.4 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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11. Atlanta, Georgia had 55.7 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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10. Hartford, Connecticut had 55.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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9. Cleveland, Ohio had 61.5 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin had 65.3 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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7. Stockton, California had 67.4 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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6. Baltimore, Maryland had 67.7 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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5. Rockford, Illinois had 76.3 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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4. Birmingham, Alabama had 82.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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3. Detroit, Michigan had 83.4 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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2. Memphis, Tennessee had 84.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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1. St. Louis, Missouri had 88.1 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

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