Today in Latin America
Top Story — United States authorities in San Diego discovered Wednesday an underground tunnel connecting two warehouses on the U.S.-Mexico border that was used to smuggle drugs.
Along with discovering the tunnel, authorities also seized over 20 tons of pot, in what is one of the largest marijuana seizures in the United States. Mexican authorities also confiscated four tons of pot from the warehouse on their side of the border in Tijuana.
The tunnel, which is more than 1,640 ft long, has a rail system, ventilation and lighting. The tunnel was raided after a 12-hour operation that began Tuesday night when authorities watching one of the warehouses under surveillance followed a tractor-trailer as it left the building.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents notified California Highway Patrol, who stopped the truck near Temecula and discovered ten pounds of pot. The driver, who is a U.S. citizen, and his Mexican wife were arrested and will be arraigned today in San Diego.
The size of the operation lead authorities to suspect that the tunnel was the work of a major Mexican drug cartel, especially as it comes two weeks after Mexican authorities discovered a record 134 tons of marijuana in an industrial area near Tijuana. Authorities are still unsure if there is a connection between the two events.
“I can promise you there are some very unhappy people in the cartel,” said John Morton, director of ICE, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Drug tunnels are frequently used by the Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs into the U.S., with the majority of the tunnels connecting cities on Mexico’s border with California and Arizona.
In 2006, U.S. federal agents discovered a tunnel measuring 2,400 feet under the same stretch of border from Tijuana to Otay Mesa, California. It holds the record for the longest such tunnel found to date.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Argentines came together to remember their former President Néstor Kirchner at his funeral on Monday. Joel Richards sent us this photo essay from Buenos Aires.
- National Public Radio reported last week that the private prison industry played a key role in the crafting of Arizona’s controversial immigration law. Molly O’Toole, who interviewed Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce before the primary elections, has more.
- Hispanic voices are becoming more influential as the mid-term elections approach, reports Von Diaz.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Companies seeking a larger number of legal foreign workers through changes to immigration law likely will find their push thwarted by the Republicans’ sweeping election gains.
- A major drug tunnel has been discovered under the San Diego-Tijuana border, a roughly 1,800-foot passageway found in a warehouse in Otay Mesa where U.S. authorities seized more than 20 tons of marijuana, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.
- Mexico’s peso closed Wednesday at its strongest level against the dollar since late April as the U.S. Federal Reserve unveiled plans to buy Treasurys in support of the U.S. economic recovery.
- Suspect Miguel Ángel Nevarez Escajeda, alias “El Lentes” (Glasses), has been arrested in the killing of two American citizens – a U.S. consulate employee and her husband – in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, or PGR, said in a statement.
- Tomas regained tropical storm strength as it barreled toward Haiti, threatening the already battered Caribbean nation with a direct hit. Tropical storm watches were also issued for parts of Cuba, the Dominican Republic.
- Researchers should determine whether United Nations peacekeepers were the source of a deadly outbreak of cholera in Haiti, two public health experts, including a U.N. official, said Wednesday.
- A fugitive sought by the U.S. EPA for falsifying asbestos abatement certificates was captured in the Dominican Republic, the environmental agency said.
- Discussions on the fledgling U.N.-backed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme are dominated by concerns that the voices of indigenous peoples and local communities may be lost in complex decision-making processes that aim to make forest functions in developing countries part of global climate action.
- Honduras lost 37 percent of its forests over the past 20 years, revealed the Treehugger website owned by Discovery, which places this country among the most deforested in the world.
- The National Civil Police of El Salvador (PNC) reported an increase in the number of homicides in October, with 344, for a daily average of over 10.
- Young Cuban musicians Daniel Rodriguez Hart and Fidel Leal Camacho won the first and second prize, respectively, at the 6th Maria Clara Cullell International Piano Contest in Costa Rica, held from October 21st through the 31st.
- Colombia’s army has suspended seven officers and soldiers for failing to control their troops in connection with the brutal murders last month of three impoverished children near Colombia’s northeast border with Venezuela.
- A Basque separatist fighting extradition to Spain testified before Venezuelan prosecutors on Wednesday, a Venezuelan activist said.
- A government health official said a team of specialists believe 17 Yanomami Indians have died in a malaria outbreak in the past three months – a toll considerably lower than initially reported by indigenous health workers.
- President Alan García of Peru has made a formal request for President Obama’s intervention in a long-running dispute over the ownership of a large group of artifacts excavated in 1912 at Machu Picchu by a Yale explorer.
- Uruguay’s Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of an investigation into murders committed by former Uruguayan president Juan María Bordaberry during the country’s 1973-85 dictatorship, coinciding with a controversial bill in Congress that may annul the country’s 1986 amnesty law.
- Brazil criticized the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to buy billions of dollars of bonds on Wednesday, which could cause the real to appreciate and make Brazilian exports less competitive.
- Rescued Chilean miner Edison Pena will take a tour of the United States, making stops in New York City, Graceland, and Las Vegas.
- The brother of Paraguayan soccer muse Larissa Riquelme was arrested for his involvement in a bank robbery in which $20,000 were stolen.
Image: mylifeafterdeath @ Flickr.