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Mexican Police Seize Tons of Marijuana, Cocaine in Tunnel Town

May 24, 1990

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Federal police seized more than a ton of cocaine and 14 tons of marijuana Wednesday after a shootout in the town where a tunnel used to smuggle drugs across the Arizona border was discovered last week, authorities said.

A communique from the Attorney General’s Office said the drugs belonged to the man identified as the owner of a house at one end of the tunnel in Agua Prieta, Sonora.

Two people began firing when they saw the federal anti-narcotics agents and then fled in a vehicle, the statement said.

It was not immediately reported if anyone was injured.

Roads in Sonora state were closed and U.S. authorities were notified to be on the watch for the two fugitives.

The marijuana and 2,330 pounds of cocaine were found in a warehouse in Agua Prieta, across from Douglas, Ariz., which was supposed to contain disposable diapers.

″It has been determined that the drug confiscated belongs to Rafael Camarena Macias, owner of the house where ... Federal Judicial Anti-narcotics Police found a tunnel about 200 yards long,″ the statement said.

It said the warehouse was equipped with a hydraulic system for raising and lowering a platform where the drugs were found.

U.S. and Mexican authorities using jackhammers and blowtorches broke into the tunnel last week and found about 25 pounds of marijuana, officials in both countries said.

The officials said then that the tunnel leads from the Agua Prieta house north to a Douglas Building Supply Co. warehouse, also belonging to Camarena.

The tunnel was built eight months ago and is one block from the Customs enforcement building and four blocks from the international port of entry.

Equipped with storage areas for up to five tons of drugs, it was five feet high, four feet wide and lighted.

U.S. customs agents estimated it was used to smuggle at least a ton of cocaine into the United States.

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