LESTER HOLT, anchor:
Now to a remarkable discovery and a record pot bust along the nation's border with
. Federal agents have found a massive secret passage, an elaborate
equipped with a
and an elevator used to smuggle drugs into the US. Tonight
takes us inside.
MARK POTTER reporting:
Federal agents say it's the most elaborate
they've seen in years, more than 600 yards long with wooden walls and floors.
Unidentified Man #1:
has lighting, and it does have good air flow, indicating that there's some type of ventilation system forcing air in from
begins on the Mexican side of the border in a warehouse at the
. To lower drugs into the
, there is a hydraulic elevator which leads to a
where an electric cart waits to carry marijuana to the US side. On steps leading upward, the
emerges inside another warehouse in
Unidentified Man #2:
Looks like the
goes down about 30 feet here.
This enhanced aerial photograph shows the
going beneath a runway, roads, a big parking lot, and the
Mr. DEREK BENNER (United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement):
All considered, a highly efficient mechanism to move narcotics in an underground environment.
Police say they seized 32 tons of marijuana, a record for a single
. Much of it was hidden in pumpkin boxes. Federal agents suspect it's the work of
, currently harvesting its ever-increasing fall marijuana crop. Authorities say especially this time of year, traffickers need tunnels to smuggle huge drug loads to the US.
Ms. LAURA DUFFY (United States Attorney):
If they can't cross the border above ground, they attempt to
is headed by
, known as "
" or "Shorty." Since his daring escape from prison 10 years ago, Mexican authorities have been unable to touch him.
Mr. GEORGE GRAYSON (College of William and Mary):
He has the police under his thumb. He controls much of the
in his state and neighboring states, and he's virtually an untouchable.
In the last four years, American agents have found more than 75 illegal tunnels crossing from
to the US, but say this one is the most sophisticated.
, NBC News, Miami.