8/20/15 KLKN – ABC 8
The arrest of a drug smuggler in scuba gear led to the discovery of a tunnel from Mexico that’s partially underwater and ends in a canal.
Evelio Padilla pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in San Diego to one count of possession of drugs with intent to distribute.
Border Patrol agents said in court documents that they discovered a soaked Padilla in a wetsuit next to the All-American Canal, about 7 miles east of Calexico, California, on April 25. Near him, they found a breathing tank with a “rebreather” to prevent surface bubbles, and several vacuum-sealed and giftwrapped packages that held a total of 55 pounds of cocaine.
That led to the discovery of the 150-foot-long tunnel, which began at a house in Mexicali, Mexico, and ended under the water of the canal. The drugs were put on a trolley system on the dry Mexico side of the tunnel, and smugglers would use scuba gear to retrieve it from under the canal’s water from an opening that is normally obscured by rocks.