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2 Border Tunnels Uncovered in San Diego

Glenny Rodriguez, 73, was arrested on suspicion of overseeing the tunnels

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A 73-year-old woman is accused of operating drug smuggling tunnels recently discovered by authorities in Otay Mesa. NBC 7's Candice Nguyen has the latest details on the suspect's connection to this case. (Published Saturday, Apr 5, 2014)

    Two new tunnels were discovered along the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego, officials confirmed Friday.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were on the scene of the tunnels located in Otay Mesa. One tunnel was discovered at 10005 Marconi Drive. The second was found at 10145 Via de la Amistad.

    Woman, 73, Arrested in Drug Tunnels Discovery

    [DGO] Woman, 73, Arrested in Drug Tunnels Discovery
    A 73-year-old woman was arrested in connection with the discovery of two drug tunnels in south San Diego. NBC 7's Artie Ojeda reports on these latest developments. (Published Friday, Apr 4, 2014)

    Both locations are in an industrial area just a few hundred feet from the border with Mexico.

    Federal agents report the tunnels were uncovered this week and include lighting and a rail system.

    Watch: 2 Border Tunnels Uncovered in San Diego

    [DGO] Watch: 2 Border Tunnels Uncovered in San Diego
    This video released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Friday shows agents as they uncover one of two drug tunnels. (Published Friday, Apr 4, 2014)

    The tunnel that exits inside the Via de la Amistad warehouse sits at the bottom of a 70-foot shaft and has a pulley system designed to lift cargo out of the tunnel and into the building above.

    Tunnels Uncovered at Border in Otay Mesa

    [DGO] Tunnels Uncovered at Border in Otay Mesa
    NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports on two tunnels uncovered at the U.S. Mexico border in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego. (Published Friday, Apr 4, 2014)

    That tunnel is about 80 yards from the border and leads to the Marconi address, and is the more sophisticated of the two, officials said.

    Inside, agents say they found a multi-tiered electric rail system running along the 700-yard tunnel.

    Agents found the Via de la Amistad tunnel Tuesday after a months-long investigation. They say they found the second tunnel Thursday.

    On Friday, Glennys Rodriguez, a 73-year-old Chula Vista woman was arrested in connection with the tunnels and now faces federal charges. Officials believe she's responsible for overseeing the tunnels.

    NBC 7 spoke to friends and neighbors on Friday in disbelief over Rodriguez’s arrest and possible connection to the tunnels.

    “It's impossible. She could not, she would not be involved. And I could give my life for her and she would not,” said friend Cathy Welsh. “I witness her life. I take care of her dog. She just goes to her office every day.”

    NBC 7 learned that Rodriguez owns a company called “G&R Services” in Chula Vista that provides immigration and tax services. She’s currently being held without bail.

    Rodriguez’s lawyer says she has a detention hearing in federal court on Wednesday.

    Officials say no illegal drugs were found on either property.

    In San Diego, there have been seven tunnels uncovered in less than four years.

    Since 2006, federal authorities have detected at least 80 cross-border smuggling tunnels, most of them in California and Arizona.