Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Guilty Pleas in International Drug Tunnel

SAN DIEGO (CN) - Two men pleaded guilty this week to drug and money laundering charges stemming from the bust of an international tunnel to a house in Calexico to which they smuggled a ton of marijuana.

The men said the tunnel took 9 months to build. Saul Ontiveros-Zamora of Mexico and Eduardo Araza-Leon of Calexico, Calif., were arrested soon after the tunnel was discovered, on Sept. 15, 2006. They have been in federal custody since their arrests.

Ontiveros admitted that he ordered Araza to rent the house in Calexico, and said he paid the owners $10,000 in cash as a down payment, and planned to buy the house for $350,000.

Araza admitted that he rented houses in Calexico and Mexicali, on the other side of the border. The tunnel was built between the two houses. Both men will be sentenced in May. Two other men have been convicted - one of them while hauling half a ton of weed through the tunnel, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

This is one of many international drug tunnels discovered on the U.S.-Mexico border. Some of them were equipped with lights and air-conditioning.

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