The opening of a drug tunnel was found in a fairly new home in Calexico, according to federal drug enforcement officials Wednesday. The 415-yard tunnel leads south to Mexicali, Mexico, where the other end opens up into a restaurant, federal officials said.
Federal agents said they haven’t seen many tunnels in the Calexico area due to the challenging terrain. Four people were arrested and face charges, including drug trafficking and money laundering.
Agents executed three search warrants each for the Calexico home, another residence where traffickers would stash marijuana, and a warehouse. Four people were arrested Wednesday in connection with a raid on the tunnel underneath a three-bedroom house in Calexico, California, that sits about 300 yards north of the international line, authorities said. Authorities confiscated 1,532 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of nearly $6 million. Joel Duarte Medina and Manuel Gallegos Jiminez were arrested in Calexico on Wednesday, and Marcia Manuela Duarte-Medina and her mother, Eva Duarte De Medina, were arrested in Arizona on Tuesday. The mother and daughter allegedly purchased the land where the tunnel was built, authorities said. The case is also unusual because it’s the first highly sophisticated tunnel discovered in Calexico in a decade, authorities said.
Tunnels have been typically discovered closer to the Otay Mesa border crossing near San Diego, about 125 miles west of Calexico, where the ground is softer and where thousands of warehouses on both sides of the border provide camouflage for smugglers. Calexico is less desirable for tunnels because the soil is denser and more difficult to break, and the town’s residential character makes it difficult to conceal tunneling activity, authorities said. The beige stucco house, the newest on the block, sits in a community of single-family homes.
The tunnel, in effect, passes underneath First Street and Second Street and then the 14-foot metal border fence. Resident Juan Urrea lives one block from the house concealing the tunnel and expressed shock Wednesday. Another neighbor, Yolanda Sanchez, who lives two doors away, said she thought the new house would help property values. The front room of the house contained a 3-foot-diameter hole in the floor that led to a shaft descending 32 feet, and then the tunnel featured a rail system, lighting and electricity, which have also been recently discovered in other smuggling tunnels, authorities said. Traffickers allegedly scouted properties in Calexico and chose a parcel in a residential section, paying $240,000 for the property in April 2015, authorities said. The house was constructed from October and December, and property owners allegedly told the contractor to leave a space for a floor safe when pouring a cement foundation, authorities said.
In late December, alleged co-conspirators rented a saw with a concrete blade from a business in nearby El Centro, and the saw is believed to have been used to complete the tunnel exit, authorities said. Drug smuggling began through the tunnel after February 28, authorities said, citing intercepted calls and surveillance. Smugglers also used a second Calexico residence four miles from the tunnel exit to store the drugs and then they moved the narcotics to a Calexico warehouse, where transportation cells moved the drugs to the cities northward, authorities said. On March 7, authorities and police in West Covina, California, seized more than 1,350 pounds of marijuana that was earlier smuggled through the tunnel, authorities said.
This week’s raid is the 10th large-scale drug smuggling tunnel discovered in the San Diego and Imperial counties area since 2006, authorities said.
Border Patrol officials had been monitoring the lot since the fall after noticing heavy traffic in the area.

A growing number of Iranian women have habit so taboo in this traditional Islamic society that some believe they deserve death.
At a female-only rehab centre on the outskirts of Tehran, a small band of women are quietly trying to help drug addicts start new lives.
TEHRAN, IRAN—On the western outskirts of this city, in an industrial neighbourhood of factories and dusty half-constructed lots, a metal-walled building houses women with a secret. They are female drug addicts, a growing class of people with a habit so taboo in this traditional Islamic society that some Iranians believe they deserve death.
But the modest facility here, a substance-abuse rehabilitation centre for women, is one sign that attitudes are slowly changing as Iran begins to confront an uncomfortable problem that long went ignored. The bulk of Afghan opium passes through Iran before it hits the global market, and that access has long contributed to addiction rates that are among the highest in the world. That is in large part because of the stigma attached to female substance abuse, as well as a heavy dose of denial about the roots and scope of the problem. Finding drugs here is easy, and the vast majority of addicts use locally produced crystal methamphetamines or heroin and other opium derivatives. Due to the restrictive nature of Iranian society, women often seek out female-only spaces to get high, adding to the difficulty of tracking use. Although the bulk of state efforts to combat Iran’s drug problem target traffickers, the government also sponsors strong anti-drug public awareness campaigns. That call is part of an increasingly open national debate about how to confront the growing problem, with education and treatment efforts being led by women who have battled addiction and gotten sober. At the rehab centre outside Tehran, Massoumeh and a small band of women are quietly trying to help female drug addicts start new lives. In addition to helping addicts get clean, using techniques that mirror international Narcotics Anonymous programs, the clinic works to prepare patients for what is often a bigger, riskier challenge — reintegrating into regular society and returning to the neighbourhoods where they previously used drugs. She said she plans on getting a divorce as soon as possible, because her husband wants to keep using drugs. Marijuana Use By Older People 55 And Up Increases: Can Cannabis Prevent Pain Pill Addiction?
According to the Daily Mail, Lufti filed a lawsuit against Spears with the California Court of Appeals. Despite the verbal agreement, TMZ is reporting that Britney Spears did not follow through with her end of the bargain.
Since then, Spears has made several successful albums and has really turned her life around.
Meanwhile, although Lufti believes his actions were justified, not everyone close to Spears views him in a good light.
In fact, in her book, Through the Storm, Lynne described Lufti as someone who exploited his friendship with Spears. After Spears testifies, the case will go to the jury, and the final verdict will be announced. The home is on land that was purchased for $240,000, had three bedrooms and was constructed last year for the sole purpose of hiding the tunnel, according to KSWB. They were charged with various drug trafficking, money laundering and tunnel-related offenses, authorities said. The defendants and their attorneys couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.
In all, federal agents detected more than 75 cross-border smuggling tunnels in the past five years, mostly in California and Arizona.

At a conference on drugs in the city of Urmia this month, one government official blamed foreign meddling. Even so, until recently, the mere thought of women with substance abuse problems seemed unfathomable.
One surprising venue, according to crystal meth addicts interviewed at the rehabilitation centre, are female-only beauty salons, usually operated in private homes. But Rahmani and other officials are calling on non-governmental organizations to help fight addiction, a battle that Iran’s religiously conservative authorities are ill-equipped to tackle. Operating for two years, the entire facility is little more than a collection of large rooms surrounding a concrete and gravel courtyard. A group of volunteers would set up tents in forested areas outside of Tehran to treat women, with no protection from law enforcement. That was the case for Nahid, who said she started shortly after getting married at age 19 and has been sober for just over three months.
While the two fight over their former partnership, some interesting details about Spears’ past issues are coming to light.
After Spears agreed to his terms, Lufti became a close friend and integral part of her life. Along with her career success, she has also established healthy relationships with her children.
Not only did he manipulate Spears, but he reportedly cut her off from the outside world, and even aided her addiction to drugs. Apparently, the main question surrounds whether or not a contract was ever made between Spears and Lufti.
Shame was incentive enough for most to hide their habit, making the problem even harder to address.
Many women say they were first introduced to meth by other salon customers who raved about its effectiveness in causing rapid weight loss. But it represents a huge improvement over previous versions of women’s rehab centres in Iran, the staff says. Most notably, the court documents have opened the lid on the pop star’s problems with drugs back in 2007. In response, Spears has argued that no formal contract was ever drawn up, and that she doesn’t owe Lufti anything. In fact, things got so bad that Spears slept in a parking lot after she lost her custody case with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. They also agree that Spears would pay Lufti a hefty sum for his service once she got back in the music industry.
This is a drastic change from Spears’ old life, which the court documents have revealed was riddled with drug abuse. From here, Spears is expected to testify in a deposition about her time with Lufti, whom she has requested be prohibited from attending the interview. Without a written account of their agreement, it will be up to the jury to decide which party is telling the truth and whether or not Spears owes Lufti money.

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