Three people have been arrested after police raided a sophisticated tunnel intended to smuggle drugs under the U.S.-Canada border between Vancouver and Seattle, investigators said on Thursday.
The smugglers spent more than a year building the 360-foot (110-meter) tunnel that ran from a Quonset hut-style storage building in the rural Aldergrove neighborhood of Langley, British Columbia, to the living room of a home in Lynden, Washington, U.S. and Canadian investigators said.
"It was well built, probably one of the most sophisticated tunnels we've ever seen," said Rod Benson, an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. "There was a significant drug trafficking organization that was responsible for the construction."
Video supplied by investigators showed that the inside of the tunnel was lined with wood supports and concrete reinforced with steel. The builders had installed a small cart to allow them to move freight or people from one end to the other.
Investigators said it was the first time a drug smuggling tunnel had been found on the U.S.-Canada border, although more than 30 such tunnels have been uncovered on the border between Mexico and the United States.
Large quantities of potent "B.C. Bud" are smuggled to the United States each year from British Columbia, where illegal marijuana growing has been estimated to be a more than C$2 billion-a-year industry ($1.7 billion).
Investigators said that while they believe it had only been used briefly to smuggle marijuana to the United States, the tunnel was also likely intended to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States and cocaine and guns into Canada.
Police raided the tunnel on Wednesday, arresting three men from Surrey, British Columbia. They also seized 93 pounds of marijuana that had been loaded into a vehicle and was being driven across Washington state.
Francis Devandra Raj, 30, Timothy Woo, 34, and Jonathan Valenzuela, 27, have been charged with drug smuggling and are being held in the United States. Investigators said the three men are well known to police in Canada.
Raj owned the property at the tunnel's Canadian entrance. The owner of the property on the U.S. side has not been arrested, but police said they are still investigating.
DIGGING WORK HIDDEN
Neighbors said the builders did a good job hiding their activities. "I'm kind of a nosy person... and I never seen any activity to speak of," said Mike Hamm, who lived not far from Raj's property... (Continued Here) Source