Thursday, July 21, 2005

Underground operation

The big story of the day is the tunnel.

A tunnel longer than a football field built to ship drugs under the U.S. border was shut down by law-enforcement officials yesterday. A source close to the investigation said the tunnel was being used to smuggle marijuana between Aldergrove and Lynden, Wash.

"This thing was under surveillance for the last eight or nine months," said the source.

...Built with timber walls and ceilings and lined with a cement floor, the tunnel is about 150 metres long, said the source.

...Separated by a ditch and a road, it ran from a private residence on the U.S. side to a quonset hut on the Canadian one in the 26700-block Zero Avenue, he added.

...[Neighbor] Luke said she never suspected anything illegal but often wondered why the house on the U.S. side was vacant. "It's a nice house. I thought that it was strange that there was no one living there for so long."
That's probably what tipped the cops off as well but it does go to show how cannabis importers make good neighbors. If they had been able to do that legally, that little town could have been making some serious money.
The trade in marijuana "is estimated to be worth over nine billion dollars Cdn a year. In fact, Forbes magazine called marijuana Canada's most important agricultural export.

The update is very interesting. Take this for instance.
Using a delayed notice search warrant, agents entered the home on July 2 to examine the tunnel. A short time later a U.S. District Court judge authorized the installation of cameras and listening devices in the home to monitor activities in the home. Using these devices, agents from various federal, state and local law enforcement authorities saw the three suspects carrying large hockey bags or garbage bags through the tunnel.
It stinks of the Patriot Act. That was supposed to keep us safe from terrorists, not cannabis dealers right? Interestingly the two accounts differ on the upkeep of the lawn.

This piece says tunnels are not uncommon and offers this odd bit of info on a bust at the Mexican border.
Investigators used a machine that can "see" underground, a video-equipped robot, a drug-sniffing dog and an air horn to find it..
Why the air horn, I wonder.

This flash video doesn't answer that question but does have it's own amusing take on the story.

[hat tip as always to Tim Meehan]


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