Federal law enforcement officials claim they received a tip of the existence of a drug smuggling tunnel along the California border with Mexico. Officials say that a tractor-trailer parked outside an office building in the area drew their suspicion. They reportedly followed the big-rig northbound on I-15.

At a border checkpoint near Temecula, law enforcement stopped the truck and searched its contents. Authorities say they discovered 10 tons of marijuana in the trailer. The husband and wife who allegedly were operating the big-rig have been charged for alleged conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Law enforcement says they obtained a search warrant for the office building on Via De La Amistad near the Otay Mesa point of entry based upon the discovery of marijuana in the truck. Authorities claim that the warehouse on the American side of the border held another 15 tons of pot.

The office building reportedly is connected to a site in Tijuana by a roughly 600 yard long tunnel. The tunnel reportedly is sophisticated, built with lighting, ventilation and a rail system for transporting carts across the Mexican-American border.

Authorities believe the tunnel is used to smuggle drugs into the United States, including the marijuana seized on the American side of the border. Four tons of marijuana reportedly was discovered on the Tijuana side of the border.

Officials have found numerous tunnels along the California and Arizona border with Mexico over the past 20 years. U.S. officials report finding 125 tunnels since 1990when authorities began keeping track of tunnels. In the past four years law enforcement has found 75 tunnels along the border with Mexico.

Source: NBC San Diego, "Drug Tunnel Suspect Charged," Michelle Wayland and Tony Shin, 6 Nov 2010