Authorities in Arizona discovered $1 million in drugs during a traffic stop — and officials say that led them to a nearly 600-foot drug tunnel that runs between a former KFC restaurant and a private home in Mexico.
It all began August 13, when police in the border city of San Luis, Arizona, say they saw the owner of a now-abandoned business bringing several plastic containers outside and loading them onto a trailer.
Officers pulled the man over for an unspecified equipment violation. During the traffic stop, a narcotics dog alerted authorities to the presence of drugs in the two containers.
Inside the containers, police found 239 packages of various drugs, including over 261 pounds of methamphetamine, 14 pounds of cocaine, 30 pounds of white heroin, 13.7 pounds of brown heroin and 6.8 pounds of fentanyl. The fentanyl alone “translates to over 3 million dosage units,”
Police listed the total value of the drugs at over $1 million.
The suspect was identified as Jesus Ivan Lopez Garcia and is facing federal charges including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.
According to court documents, Lopez Garcia purchased the property in April of this year for $390,000. It used to be a KFC restaurant. The criminal complaint filed says “the structure was vacant in recent years and was not used for business.”
Police searched the vacant restaurant two days later and discovered the entrance to a tunnel inside.
The tunnel ran 22 feet deep and traveled nearly 590 feet underground to a residence across the border in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico, where it ended in a trap door underneath a bed.
The US-Mexico border above the tunnel is protected by two border fences.