Underwater Drug Tunnel Scheme Leads To 55-Pound Cocaine Discovery By U.S. Border Patrol

Authorities are locking up one man in connection with an underwater drug tunnel discovered along the All-American Canal in Calexico, California. The tunnel started in Mexicali, and the drug smuggler nabbed was using it to transport cocaine. Evelio Padilla-Zepeda pleaded guilty in court this week in his case connected to the tunnel.

CNN reports that Padilla-Zepeda had been arrested after he was found wearing a wetsuit at the Calexico end of the underwater drug tunnel in April. Along with diving gear and scuba tanks, authorities found 25 packages of cocaine that had been carefully packaged.

As authorities investigated, they discovered that the underwater drug tunnel ran between the two locations. CBS8 details that on April 25, U.S. Border Patrol agents learned via a remote video-surveillance operator that someone was near the canal. When agents found him, and searched the area, they came across two re-breather tanks and the cocaine.

Padilla-Zepeda, 28, is a Honduran national. He pleaded guilty to possession of and intent to distribute a controlled substance in a federal court Wednesday in San Diego. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for his drug smuggling via the underwater drug tunnel. Padilla-Zepeda faces sentencing in December.

The underwater drug tunnel was about 50 yards long and started at a house in Mexicali, notes People. Padilla-Zepeda detailed that he had originally believed he would be helping people make their way across the border between Mexico and the United States.

However, when he got to Mexico, the Honduran man was told that he would be moving drugs instead. He claims that he had no choice but to go along with it.

The investigation detailed that the smugglers used a trolley system in the underwater drug tunnel. The drugs departed from the dry side of the tunnel on Mexicali, then smugglers in wetsuits would retrieve the drugs on the California side.

In Padilla-Zepeda’s case, 55 pounds of cocaine were found. As was previously reported by the Inquisitr, investigators have not revealed what more they may know about those behind the tunnel.

A number of drug tunnels have been discovered along the border of Mexico over the years. Some would say, though, that the underwater drug tunnel utilized by Evelio Padilla-Zepeda and potentially others took things up a notch.

At this point, authorities have not detailed whether more arrests might be coming in this case. However, people can be certain that the All-American Canal area in Calexico where this underwater drug tunnel was found is going to be watched closely going forward.

[Images via the Journal/NBC Bay Area]