According to the BBC, American law enforcement officials have discovered a hidden drug tunnel running between a defunct and abandoned Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in San Luis, Arizona, to a private residential bedroom in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico.
The passageway, which measured approximately 600 feet in length, was uncovered in the basement of the old quick-service establishment following a traffic stop in which its owner was found with large quantities of hard drugs. The tunnel ran across the border partitioning the United States from Mexico, terminating at the other end in a secret trap door beneath a homeowner’s bed.
Authorities found the tunnel last week and have arrested the owner of the KFC in question following a routine traffic stop involving the primary suspect, Ivan Lopez.
After having been pulled over for the traffic stop, police on scene searched Lopez’s vehicle and were astonished to find a very large quantity of serious narcotics. Two containers of hard drugs were found contained within the conveyance in Lopez’s possession, bearing an estimated street value of over $1 million.
Police investigators claim that the containers found inside of Lopez’s vehicle produced 118 kilograms of methamphetamine, 19 kilograms of heroin, 3 kilograms of fentanyl, and 6 kilograms of cocaine.
Following the rather illuminating traffic stop, law enforcement officials proceeded to subject Lopez’s real estate holdings to an extensive physical search, including his home and the shuttered KFC restaurant he was responsible for in the city of San Luis.
It was there, in the kitchen of the old chicken restaurant, that they discovered one side of the portal that would lead them into the drug-running tunnel connecting the two neighboring countries.
The tunnel was found to measure approximately 22 feet deep, 5 feet tall, and 3 feet wide and was flanked by reinforcing boards and stonework. The drugs being smuggled through the tunnel are believed to have been hauled through with a rope.
Though unusual in its placement, this is not the first discovery of illicit drug tunnels connecting the bordering nations, beneath the scrutinizing eye of law enforcement. Just two years prior, a tunnel 2,600 feet in length was found by police in San Diego, California.
Authorities said of that tunnel that it was one of the longest ever discovered, employed in the pursuit of transporting an unprecedented cache of cannabis and cocaine.
In the month of July, United States Customs and Border Patrol was responsible for seizing over 10 kilograms of cocaine, 15 kilograms of heroin, 327 kilograms of methamphetamine, and a whopping 1,900 kilograms of cannabis at border checkpoints.