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Cartels Are Using Firetruck-Sized Drillers To Make Drug Pipelines

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the looking-forward-to-their-space-rocket-deliveries dept.

News 323

Daniel_Stuckey writes "In the beginning, they used catapults, dune buggies, 'jalapeños,' $1 million submarines, and sophisticated drug tunnels to move drugs northward. Now, Mexican drug cartels are taking to high-end industrial drills to carve out literal drug pipelines into the U.S. It's the next big leap in the evolution of the narcos' ingenious smuggle tech. The future of borderland drug running, it turns out, is boring. Jason Kersten reports on the phenomenon in a great GQ feature that focuses on the Sinaloa Cartel, the international crime syndicate believed to be behind the first known narco pipeline in 2008: '...Mexican authorities, responding to reports of a cave-in and flooding near the [All-American] canal, discovered a tunnel unlike anything they'd ever seen. Only ten inches wide, it was essentially a pipe. The Mexican cops traced it back to a house about 600 feet from the border, where they found a tractor-like vehicle with a long barrel on its side—a horizontal directional drill, or HDD.'"

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323 comments

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Plotline of Weeds (1, Funny)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 9 months ago | (#45895527)

So basically, the cartels have been watching season 4 of Weeds, which had exactly this tunnel between Mexico and US. Hahah.

Re:Plotline of Weeds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895609)

Except the one in Weeds was like 4-5 feet wide and 6 feet tall, and it ran from a commercial shopping center in the US to a barn in Mexico.

Re:Plotline of Weeds (4, Informative)

niftydude (1745144) | about 9 months ago | (#45895631)

Season 4 of Weeds aired in 2008. FTFA, the first drug tunnel was discovered by police in 1990.

So I don't think the cartels are the copycats here...

Re:Plotline of Weeds (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#45895649)

But thankfully they probably won't try to enforce the copyright.

Re:Plotline of Weeds (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 9 months ago | (#45895645)

The Palestinians have been doing this for decades. Sad that your experience is so small that you think that everyone copies from TV.

Re:Plotline of Weeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895709)

The Palestinians have been doing this for decades. Sad that your experience is so small that you think that everyone copies from TV.

The Palestinians have been pushing drugs through pipe sized tunnels? Where to?

Re:Plotline of Weeds (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895763)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_Strip_smuggling_tunnels

"The Gaza Strip smuggling tunnels are passages that have been dug under the Philadelphi Corridor, a narrow strip of land, 14 km (8.699 miles) in length, situated along the border between Gaza Strip and Egypt. After the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979[1] the town of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, was split by this Corridor. One half of the town belongs to Egypt, and the other half was under Israeli military control until 2005. After Israel withdrew, the Philadelphi Corridor was placed under the control of the Palestine Authority until 2007. When the Hamas seized power in 2007, Egypt and Israel closed borders with Gaza. []

"The tunnels are used to import a wide range of goods, including livestock, zoo animals, food, legal and illegal drugs, clothes, car parts, building supplies and weapons. The tunnels were also used to smuggle in construction materials for the Gaza Mall and the Crazy Water Park.[9][10] Palestinians view the tunnels as a lifeline, enabling them access to a wide range of commercial goods during the blockade of the Gaza Strip."

Re:Plotline of Weeds (2)

flyneye (84093) | about 9 months ago | (#45896579)

Hey man, Ive got a tapir, gonna hook you up Vato.

Hello (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896037)

What a bad comment - of course people get inspired from tv. Do you have a desire to put people down? Then You shopuld probably only try it when You are right ;-)

Re:Plotline of Weeds (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896091)

During WWI both sides brought in miners to the front to dig tunnels under the front line for espionage and planting explosives under targets. The idea of digging tunnels for various (nefarious?) purposes under a border or slowly moving front line is probably as old as fences and walls to keep another party out of your area.

Re:Plotline of Weeds (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 9 months ago | (#45896577)

Who are the Palestinians sending drugs to? The camels in the U.A.E?

Re:Plotline of Weeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895657)

Not quite. The tunnel from Weeds was large enough for people to walk through so the producers could have an excuse to work human trafficking into the plot. All real world tunnels discovered so far have only been a few inches wide and use a pulley system to move drugs. A human sized tunnel would require dramatically more manpower to create rather than this current method that only requires a horizontal directional drill. Needing lots of manpower for a project is very bad for secrecy so it seems very unlikely that such a large undiscovered tunnel would exist yet. Or if it does, its diggers probably aren't around to brag about their accomplishment.

Re:Plotline of Weeds (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895703)

All real world tunnels discovered so far have only been a few inches wide and use a pulley system to move drugs.

Incorrect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smuggling_tunnel#U.S.-Mexican_smuggling_tunnels [wikipedia.org]

Re:Plotline of Weeds (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895717)

All real world tunnels discovered so far have only been a few inches wide and use a pulley system to move drugs.

No, larger tunnels have been found.

In November 2011, authorities found a 600-yard tunnel that resulted in seizures of 32 tons of marijuana on both sides of the border, with 26 tons found on the U.S. side, accounting for one of the largest pot busts in U.S. history. The tunnel was equipped with electric rail cars, lighting and ventilation. Wooden planks lined the floor. [huffingtonpost.com]

and

On Thanksgiving Day 2010, authorities found a roughly 700-yard passage equipped with rail tracks that extended from the kitchen of a Tijuana home to two San Diego warehouses, netting about 22 tons of marijuana on both sides of the border.

Human trafficking wouldn't be a problem if they wanted to but I suspect that the economy in it is too low to be worth the risk and effort.

Re: Plotline of Weeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895823)

Like "Firetruck-Sized Drillers" ?

Re:Plotline of Weeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895917)

With "pipeline" they mean a thin tube that will just let through packages of drugs, moved my air pressure. Probably similar to the internal mail system large offices sometimes had. So it won't let people come through, like the drug tunnels did.

Any drones yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895533)

Surely Bezos gave them a great idea

Re:Any drones yet? (5, Funny)

Noishkel (3464121) | about 9 months ago | (#45895653)

Well hell they have their own submarines and now large tunneling machines. Seems like drones are the next logical step.

If they get to the point where they have their own space program I say we just surrender in the war on drugs and let them run things.

Re:Any drones yet? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896047)

The War on Drugs is just bullshit talk. Nobody in power is really serious about stopping stuff, they're just interesting in keeping a profitable War going on.

The reason why the drug lords have the money for submarines, tunneling machines, armies and actual wars is because big banks launder billions for them AND the people involved in that mostly get away with it.

If people know they might end up in jail for laundering, you'd see more of them start getting formal approval from their bosses for dubious stuff, and their bosses will say "No", or pass stuff up to their own bosses and so on. There won't be any bullshit about no trails. A bank could believably claim it lost track of a few hundred dollars here and there, but not when billions are being transferred.

Stop the laundering of billions of dollars and the drug lord budgets will shrink.

Re:Any drones yet? (3, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#45896501)

It's much more complicated than just "the evil banks launder drug money". If you use the money from drug sales to buy lets say on the next food market, then open up a restaurant and sell the food there, you already have washed your money, because then your drug money gets orderly booked and taxed and is as clean as you want. Do this with several layers of legit companies and then even a very investigative reporter or police officer will have a hard time to prove money laundering.

Re:Any drones yet? (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 9 months ago | (#45896067)

Drones will surely happen. I predict that at that time they will obviously have won. (They have won a long time ago, the "war on drugs" is just authoritarians trying desperately to tell others how to live and what to think, regardless of how much more damage that does.)

The space program is a nice idea though.

While I am not a drug user (beyond the obvious mood-altering substances: Alcohol, Caffeine, Sugar, Fat, Chocolate), safe (as far as possible, but see the dangers of legal drugs), medical-quality and reasonably priced drugs in general availability are the only sane thing to do. Everything else costs far, far too much.

Re:Any drones yet? (5, Funny)

Mithrandir (3459) | about 9 months ago | (#45896099)

If they get to the point where they have their own space program I say we just surrender in the war on drugs and let them run things.

It's when they start taking over pizza delivery franchises that you have to really begin to worry.

something similar happened already (5, Interesting)

CdBee (742846) | about 9 months ago | (#45896309)

Look up the Glasgow Ice Cream Wars - battles for control of the drugs via ice cream van trade

Wow (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 9 months ago | (#45895543)

And I thought the city was bad...

Hudreds of Thousands US jobs depend on cartels (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895559)

Just think about all US government agencies and their budgets on "war on drugs" They only exists as long drug cartel exist. Huge shipments of firearms from US side, drugs to US, hundreds of thousand jobs.
They love each other.

Re:Hudreds of Thousands US jobs depend on cartels (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#45895655)

Duh. Why do you think we can wage war against whoever has oil at the drop of a hat but can't find the slightest hint of an excuse to bomb countries with drugs back to the stone age?

Re:Hudreds of Thousands US jobs depend on cartels (4, Insightful)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 9 months ago | (#45895697)

Yes, which is why the reverse is equally true: the cartels will only exist as long as the war on drugs exists.

You've got to wonder why the folks on the right who care so deeply about individual freedom of choice and despise government intrusion in personal affairs are such big fans of the war on drugs.

If it were about protecting the people from harm (which drugs can undoubtedly do to its users) or about reducing crime, the exact opposite approach would make much more sense.

I believe there might be a hint in the fact that sentencing in cases involving cheap drugs is so much harsher than cases involving expensive drugs.

Combined with the infamous two-tier justice system, and the various ways in which ex-convicts are reduced to subhuman status well after they formally did their time, it is effectively a war on the poor, and their vote.

Re:Hudreds of Thousands US jobs depend on cartels (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45895781)

Because the group referred to as 'the right' actually consists of several contradicting ideologies forced together by the nature of the US political system. While they do hold to the principle of small government and individual freedom, these are not their highest priority goals and so will be ignored when a seemingly more important idea is in contradiction. This happens quite often, as the political conservative and social conservative factions are fundamentally conflicted - they'd be at war with each other if they hadn't found a common enemy in the liberals.

Re:Hudreds of Thousands US jobs depend on cartels (2)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#45896515)

But even in countries where the conservative right is not so much about small government, they are resolutely pro war-on-drugs.

Re:Hudreds of Thousands US jobs depend on cartels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895787)

If it were about protecting the people from harm (which drugs can undoubtedly do to its users) or about reducing crime, the exact opposite approach would make much more sense.

But even if that weren't true, proponents of individual freedoms would still say that freedom is more important. The losers you speak of (specifically, the people who claim to love freedom but support nonsense like this) obviously don't care at all about individual liberties. This problem exists on both "sides." Even if someone claims to want pot legalized, you can bet that they want the war on drugs to continue for just about every other drug.

No resuscitation policy would fix everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896313)

A no resuscitation policy would go a long way to fixing everything.

Say anyone in prison can have as many opiates or free heroin in clean needles. Just one catch - no resuscitation policy if you OD.
This way may we get rid of housing stupid crims and trailer trash.

Repeat for weed, but make the cost lowish IF in a supervised presence, and heaps more unsupervised.

The penalities for ice need increasing, as there is no cure for brain damage.

Worse than jobs, it's authority (5, Interesting)

swb (14022) | about 9 months ago | (#45896429)

My neighbor is a cop and a pretty conservative guy.

I've been on ride-a-longs with him and one thing that surprised me was the amount of "paperwork" (which is really just database entry, not actual paper) associated with pretty much any call. We went to a house that was under renovation that had been broken into. Lockbox smashed and door opened. As it happens, the house was nearly done and they had just finished doing the hardwood floors -- the place was EMPTY, no tools, nothing at all to steal. The only thing that had happened was the breaking and entering. We were at the house and talked to the owner for maybe 10 minutes. We were at the precinct entering data for nearly an HOUR!

I asked him what he does when he finds pot on someone. He said mostly nothing if its a small amount -- dump it on the ground and grind it up with this boot -- "You saw how much paperwork there is. If wrote every guy up with pot, I'd catch hell from my supervisor because I wouldn't be taking enough other calls."

But, I suspect that despite that street cops don't want to or can't arrest everyone, cops generally LIKE that pot is illegal because it gives them a LEVER. A tool to use against people to justify stopping them and searching them. Look at Stop and Frisk in NYC -- so many arrests there are from stopping someone, making them dump their pockets and then arresting them for public display of marijuana.

The DEA and the like organizationally don't like legalization because it undercuts their bureaucracy, but they really don't like the loss of authority.

People must be free (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 9 months ago | (#45895561)

Free market finds a way. Where gov't erects legal barriers, free market becomes black market. Gov't has no business in drugs ( and almost anything except national security actually). Declaring drugs illegal is destroying individual freedoms and distorting markets and creating criminals. The real problem is gov't, not criminals that gov't creates.

Re:People must be free (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45895815)

Free market finds a way. Where gov't erects legal barriers, free market becomes black market.

You are right, but if the 'free market' were an argument for making something legal, then we should make assassinations and corporations that dump poison into rivers legal, because they are going to anyway.

Re:People must be free (3, Insightful)

bentcd (690786) | about 9 months ago | (#45895919)

You are right, but if the 'free market' were an argument for making something legal, then we should make assassinations and corporations that dump poison into rivers legal, because they are going to anyway.

Well, the free market is an argument for legalization, but only with qualifications. Essentially, if the free market for a given good or service is or would be big enough then this alone is a very strong argument for legalizing it. The reasoning behind this is that first of all, if a lot of citizens want to trade in it then it is a democratic problem if they are prevented from doing so; secondly, that with such a big market even if you outlaw it the trade is still going to happen at large scale so what are you really achieving; and thirdly, that a lot of money that would otherwise move around the economy in a proper manner is now going to get funneled into a black economy where it will see less circulation (thus having a stagnating effect on the economy overall), will not be properly taxable, and will tend to leak into other more serious criminal enterprises. Also as we have seen with drugs, criminalizing what many see as a necessary good has led to the blatant militarization of police forces and erosion of civil rights for everyone. This is a very high price to pay for feelgood politics.

Of course this would only be one of the arguments in any given debate but it would be a weighty one.

Re:People must be free (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#45895983)

a lot of money that would otherwise move around the economy in a proper manner is now going to get funneled into a black economy where it will see less circulation (thus having a stagnating effect on the economy overall), will not be properly taxable, and will tend to leak into other more serious criminal enterprises.

You forgot one: "go across the border into another country, deflating the entire economy".

Re:People must be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896015)

Weed never killed anyone. Now make sure nobody gets killed over weed by legalizing it. Fuck the other drugs though.

Re:People must be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896131)

Fuck the other drugs though.

Not a big fan of freedom, I take it? Why would anyone prefer safety over freedom?

Re:People must be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896145)

Jet Li died of an allergic reaction to weed.

Re:People must be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896511)

Not sure if trolling or stupid.

Re:People must be free (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 9 months ago | (#45896083)

I think you just gave the solution: Assassinate those that dump poison into the river. Hell, public utilities producing potable water from said river may put up a preventive bounty against any polluters, as they drive up their costs.

No, I do not really want to try that. But putting a price on everybodies life (the same for everybody, obviously) may solve a host of problems. Say, for 1 Million paid to some arbitration body, anybody can buy an assassination permission. In order to prevent massive disruption, add a delay of, say, 4 years. But do not exclude politicians, judges, the police, etc. And make crowd-funding of the thing legal. That would at least be an interesting experiment. Sadly, we do not have the means to try anything like that.

Re:People must be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896591)

Finally, an idea I can Belieb in.

Re:People must be free (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895955)

Free market finds a way. Where gov't erects legal barriers, free market becomes black market. Gov't has no business in drugs ( and almost anything except national security actually). Declaring drugs illegal is destroying individual freedoms and distorting markets and creating criminals. The real problem is gov't, not criminals that gov't creates.

The problem with drugs like heroin and cocaine is that they are massively addictive and people do stupid things to sustain addictions. Not to mention the various psychological issues involved.

What kind of social issues are involved? Well:
- Crimes committed to sustain the cash flow to get drugs
- Hazardous waste (ie. used needles left lying about, making drugs legal wont stop the users from contracting various diseases such as hepatitis A/B/C, HIV, etc from sharing needles)
- Psychotic episodes in users which may involve others being hurt or killed. How much violence is caused by alcohol alone? Just imagine what it would be like if drugs were legalised...
- Sanitation and hygiene issues. Most drug users are too messed up to maintain a healthy and hygienic environment in their place of habitation. How would you feel if you had a investment property which you were renting out via a agency and the tenants, who had a clean record when going through the rental process , for whatever reason became junkies and in the space of a few weeks (quick enough so that the usual inspections and whatnot wont catch it in the process) got the property to the point where the only choice would be to condemn the property and rebuild?

And not to mention that even if drugs were legalised, people would still use blackmarket drugs. Once users get to the point where they are all about the addiction, they wont have the money to buy legal drugs and will turn to the blackmarket for cheaper drugs to sustain the addiction. The question would be if the cost reduction (but increased population of addicts) will lead to the cartels remaining all powerful in their countries of origin or not.

Re:People must be free (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895971)

Except all of those issues exist only because those drugs are illegal. Or at least are made much worse by drugs being illegal because that makes them expensive and difficult for drug users to get help when they need it.

Re:People must be free (1)

YumoolaJohn (3478173) | about 9 months ago | (#45896141)

The problem with drugs like heroin and cocaine

Are all irrelevant. Freedom is what's important.

Re:People must be free (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896207)

The problem with drugs like heroin and cocaine

Are all irrelevant. Freedom is what's important.

Nope, if you want Freedom go live in a cave with the savages in the middle of the wilderness (and even there I guess you won't be truly free).
As long as you live in society your Freedom ends where that of the other members of society start. And furthermore what is good for the single is not necessarily good for the group.

Re:People must be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896587)

1. Crimes are committed because the black market drives prices well above the cost of production.. you can buy a kilo of black tar heroin in afghanistan for about 1 euro. The illegality means that the price goes up by a factor of (3?) by the time it gets to consumers. Illegality means that people who are addicts can't get jobs, so the only way they can afford the drugs is crime..
2. Needle distribution programs have reduced this risk by huge amounts in compassionate countries.
3. Plenty of prescription drugs have the same issues, in fact, there are some interesting connections between SSIDs and things like school shootings..
4. Not true, they just can't have a job due to drug testing, and all their money goes to the inflated due to illegality substances, yet again, these are symptoms of illegality, not addiction.

Would they? Legal substances would be cleaner and cheaper.. explain why they wouldn't if you're going to make claims like that.

So now we know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895569)

what blocked BIg Bertha.

Re: So now we know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895769)

A water pipe, that was used for creating plans for her to tunnel. Oopsie.

Little Bertha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895595)

Just hope one of these doesn't hit a "hidden" steel well casing that everyone knows about. Those cartels will end up being MONTHS behind.

Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibition? (4, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | about 9 months ago | (#45895611)

It's a losing battle trying to fight the forces of economics. The Prohibition was basically a gift for the criminals and gangs to make easy money. We're seeing the same thing here. Why is weed illegal anyway? It's arguably just as harmful as alcohol and tobacco. I'm certain that Colorado an Washington won't crumble into anarchy as a result of legalization.

Re:Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibiti (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#45895671)

It's just heaps more difficult to produce high quality booze or cigs. If people can get plastered on drugs they can grow at home at the same quality that you could sell them... that's just so un-American!

Re:Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibiti (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 9 months ago | (#45895689)

It's just heaps more difficult to produce high quality booze or cigs.

It is? Why don't you come up to Canada and ask the natives how they're doing at it. Not only that two of the biggest things that they're involved with and in, is the legal manufacture of high-quality cig's, and the illegal distribution of them to the US.

Re:Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibiti (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45895791)

Depends how you define 'high quality.' Moonshine is a long-established tradition.

Re:Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibiti (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 9 months ago | (#45896561)

Depending on the strain you're growing you can have "Best in the world" quality pot in a few months just by planting a seed outside and leaving it alone. Brewing moonshine is a hell of a lot of work. It takes less time to produce maybe, but you get less of it, it takes a large initial investment in equipment and if you do it wrong the product can kill you. If you do pot wrong, you just get a lower yield.

That's what I find the most funny about legalization efforts. They think there's going to be this huge tax windfall... give it 5 years and everyone will have a plant in their backyard over the summer. Most people aren't going to be able to smoke as much as a single plant can produce in a year... why would they ever buy it?

Re:Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895987)

wtf man? doing moonshine is the simplest thing ever.
doing home wine is even simpler.

and quality here meaning "how wasted you can get" of course.

making illegal booze for sale is heaps easier and faster than even growing hemp.

Re:Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibiti (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896277)

It's just heaps more difficult to produce high quality booze or cigs. If people can get plastered on drugs they can grow at home at the same quality that you could sell them... that's just so un-American!

People can grow potatoes too, and yet no one you know prefers to do that shit over what McDonalds has to offer for a couple bucks.

Assuming Americans are anything but fucking lazy is what is un-American, and there are no pot shops going out of business in Colorado or Washington right now because people can grow weed.

Re:Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibiti (2)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#45896537)

Actually, it's quite easy to produce high quality booze or cigarettes. The uncle of my mother used to grow tabacco and ferment it. My father was distilling a quite good cherry schnaps just for fun once (made from our own cherries). It's something each somewhat dedicated amateur will master.

Re:Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibiti (2)

khasim (1285) | about 9 months ago | (#45895765)

I think that the laws around the "recreational" drugs were mostly racially inspired. Or at the very least they have been racially prosecuted.

I'm in Seattle. I like that we've started addressing this. I think we need to go further though. And I don't think that this will have any effect on us other than bringing in some more tax dollars.

If the average person can handle alcohol (beer and wine sold all over) then why wouldn't that person be able to handle cannabis?

Re:Aren't there any lessons learned from prohibiti (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45896087)

I know that in the UK, the drugs laws were basically created by some members of the rich educated elite in order to ensure that they remained that. In particular, the doctors. Given the pretty dumb state of real medicine back then (late victorian IIRC), as soon as they lose their grip on the control of narcotics and the like, they're out of a job, as everyone would self-medicate. You'll notice that everything that was made an illegal drug was actually a prescription drug, the ambiguity in that four-letter word is no coincidence.

With the profit behind DEA (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 9 months ago | (#45895779)

no way in hell with those running it ever give up the billions they get and the powet the get.

just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895617)

destroy on sight.

Decriminalize (5, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 9 months ago | (#45895625)

The sooner we decriminalize drugs, the sooner this sort of idiotic "war on drugs" can end. It's one that the US law enforcement can never win, which is the perfect sort of war for a government agency, isn't it? I'm not saying there aren't well-meaning people in those agencies, or among those that advocate such policies, but it's those same well-meaning policies that also gave us the mob during the Prohibition era. Same dance, different partners.

BTW, we recently decriminalized weed here in Washington State, and now people are setting up shops to sell the stuff. I'm betting the world won't come to an end.

Re:Decriminalize (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895635)

Decriminalization isn't good enough; they need to be legalized.

Re:Decriminalize (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#45895637)

It's a sign of movement in the right direction, but unfortunately Washington's law, as it currently stands, doesn't really target this problem. The only thing that was legalized in WA is possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Possession of larger quantities, not to mention growing or sale of any quantity, is still illegal. With consumer-level possession legal but production, distribution, and sale illegal, that doesn't really do much to harm the drug smugglers' business. To undercut the Mexican smugglers, we have to make it legal to grow and sell domestically, so there is no reason to import it from Mexico.

Re:Decriminalize (1)

khasim (1285) | about 9 months ago | (#45895783)

Our government (Seattle & Olympia) is working on that.

I live on Beacon Hill (south Seattle) and at the foot of the hill there are at least a couple of "medical" dispensaries every mile. Probably "co-ops" where they grow their own. So they don't seem to be importing from the smugglers.

I wish we had been a bit smarter when we did this but even with the mistakes it is a HUGE step forward.

But I think the biggest problem was trying to anticipate what the Federal government would do. And what they still might do.

And what the next administration might do.

Re:Decriminalize (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#45895799)

Even if some states were willing to go that far, that just means the FBI would take over prosecuting people.

If they can take some time away from protecting 'national security,' that is. I'm sure they can reallocate a few agents from investigating murders and such to focus on real crime.

War on Drugs (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 9 months ago | (#45895629)

I guess that people like a 'buzz' and as long as there is demand there is a suplier willing to take riscs to deliver.
Its basically the whole 'prohibition era' all over again with some new tech.
So keep fighting it guys! We all know what the end result will be!

Re:War on Drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896417)

Did you seriously just spell "risks" as "riscs"? LOL. You Americans...

Seismometers.. (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 9 months ago | (#45895679)

Seems they have such insanely sensitive seismometers these days they could just put a few out there and "hear" them digging them.

Or just use some of the intervening land (assuming it's unpopulated and in the middle of nowhere) as a random place to test new GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bombs.

Re:Seismometers.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896001)

Or they could change the legal status of most of these drugs so they can be moved safely across the border via standard import channels in the same way medical supplies are shipped.

But, I suppose, that would also significantly reduce the amount of drug related gang bangin' violence, the number of people in prison, the number of paramilitary police, the need for overarching constitutional violations, and the amount of general fear in the national populace. Sadly, too much money flows into that sector to let something like that happen easily.

Second pipeline? (4, Funny)

CaptQuark (2706165) | about 9 months ago | (#45895681)

So, was there a second pipeline for all the cash to flow back into Mexico?

You wouldn't want to interrupt the flow of drugs for something as inconsequential as cash.

~~

Re:Second pipeline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895915)

They just send back bitcoin over the internetz, don't you know?

Re:Second pipeline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895921)

Cash? How about weapons? 70 percent of the guns used by the Mexican drug cartels are smuggled in from the US. [wikipedia.org]

Mexico, Columbia, which other countries? (2)

GauteL (29207) | about 9 months ago | (#45896147)

The war on drugs have totally torn several countries apart. They are now practically lawless, ruthless and scary places to live and even visit. All because of a fruitless fight to protect people from themselves. Sadly it will now be impossible (at least in the short to medium term) to bring these places back to stability, even if we finally gave up the war on drugs, because the drug cartels have amassed too much money and weaponry, all because of the immense profits possible because the product has been made illegal.

I wouldn't be surprised if the drug cartels have been bribing government officials to keep the hard line on drugs going.

Re:Second pipeline? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 9 months ago | (#45896345)

So, was there a second pipeline for all the cash to flow back into Mexico?

Yes. HSBC. [rollingstone.com]

Colorado resident here (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895761)

And man am I stoned - LEGALLY stoned mofos! I am expecting a call from Obama telling me I am under arrest just because I eat to the beat!

Not new news (1)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#45895773)

Reuters coverage in 2011. [reuters.com] Congressional testimony from 2011 [senate.gov] describes a 13,000 foot tunnel.

Trenchless technology marches on. Microtunneling is getting easier. This gear is normally used to avoid digging up streets.

Has this been done before? (0)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | about 9 months ago | (#45895785)

Why does Slashdot marvel at this? The technology to create these tunnels is nothing new, in fact, Slashdot has featured all kinds of stories in the past concerning Mexican cartels involving no impressive technological acheivement, so... why does Slashdot keep running these stories? What is so worthy of news here? What are the cartels doing that hasn't already been done and why does slashdot pay them so much attention for doing it??

How about this: Run a story about the technology being developed to thwart these maniacs, eh? I only got spied on today. The cartels only just killed some innocent mother's young son, and two dozen more like him today. Murder is their technology. Surely the good guys deserve some press here as well, Slashdot?

Re:Has this been done before? (1)

AGMW (594303) | about 9 months ago | (#45895867)

... Surely the good guys deserve some press here as well, Slashdot?

The good guys? You mean the people who created the situation that encourages this behaviour in the first place? The good guys are the legislators in the states who have, at last, started down the road to end prohibition and cut the fiscal ties to the drug cartels and smugglers. Kudos to you all, for the war on drugs in an unwinnable war, and if they don't know it they are truly delusional! Historians tell us we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors, and just as alcohol prohibition funded the Mafia, so the "War On Drugs" funds the drug cartels.

The logical, hell, the ONLY, solution is to legalise ALL drugs. The reduced cost of policing plus the tax take on the companies that manufacture, process, and sell the resulting narcotics would fill the coffers and throw in the reduced cost of incarcerating the unlucky folks just wanting a little high and the reduced cost 'to society' of drugs cut with draino and the like ... it's a win-win, apart from those craving the power derived from the War On Drugs, and surely those are exactly the sorts of people who shouldn't be given the power!

Legalise It And Tax It!

Re:Has this been done before? (2)

The Rizz (1319) | about 9 months ago | (#45895911)

Legalise It And Tax It!

...and then subsidize it!

Re:Has this been done before? (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45896095)

to the tune of a couple of hundred million per year:

http://farm.ewg.org/progdetail.php?fips=00000&progcode=tobacco

I want one of those ! (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about 9 months ago | (#45895937)

...and a house close to Apple HQ.

Or.... (1)

bankman (136859) | about 9 months ago | (#45895939)

...you hide the drugs in regular fruit shipments, dispense with the costly and annoying consumer distribution system and let the local discounter [bbc.co.uk] handle it. :-)

But but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45895959)

I thought Nutella in a pastry bag meant we are close to Star Trek replicators? Why don't they just 3D print the drugs at destination?

legalize it and cartels will fall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896007)

Legalize it and cartels will fall fast. Those idiots make money because your hysterical gov wastes huge amounts of money to support the high drug prices. This fight is lost. Time to change the strategy and make those drugs legal and available in pharmacy.
Simple as that.
 

Seems like overkill? (1)

ammorris (755429) | about 9 months ago | (#45896199)

Ten inch pipe seems like overkill? Why not a simple pneumatic tube? Seems like it'd be more than sufficient to move a large quantity of "product" a great distance... Then again, why would they limit themselves to the length they can drill directionally? With the current state of autopilot driven R/C multicopters and planes I'd be surprised if the cartels wouldn't be flying their product great distances across the border on a nightly basis.

Post-War on Drugs peace dividends (1)

acb (2797) | about 9 months ago | (#45896213)

I'm wondering whether, once the War On Drugs is over (and legalisation/harm-minimisation is likely to do to the cartels what the end of prohibition did to bootleg distillers in the US), one of the results will be places like Colombia and Mexico having highly competent engineering industries directly traceable to the need to build drug-smuggling submarines and tunnel boring machines. Perhaps in a few decades' time, a city somewhere in North America will start building a subway and, instead of Germany or Japan, will go to Mexico for the boring machines?

If America was ALL WHITE... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896259)

...none of this would be happening, because there would be no Mexicans in America, there would be no blacks, and the MAJORITY of whites would want drug dealers locked up for decades.

Thanks for destroying our countries, Jews...

Re:If America was ALL WHITE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896367)

Yeah, but sooner or later someone is going to want to eat fruit.

Government is behind it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896297)

So tell me how the governement and powers that be are not directly or indirectly behind the sale of life destroying drugs to the small and helpless. Before the Kennedy's were politicians, they were booz runners. You can make more money by taxing sin directly than you can from taking a little off the top to allow its sale. Today the state controls the numbers racket (lottery), booze sales, cigarette sales, gun sales, and now coming to a theater near you the sale of illegal drugs. All you hippies are eating right into their hands. Legal drugs mean controlled drugs for a controlled society. The mind altering pharmacuticals that are currently legal and fed to the populus enmasse are already killing more than the illegal kind. Sure lets make the illegal kind illegal. Even more people will be fucked up.

Fight the power. Stay clean.

Uncle Sam want's you high on smack.

Cops and Gang Stars are but buddies.

Re:Government is behind it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896563)

I'm on Uncle Sam's syrup "methadone"

Everything needs to be legalized and I base that compared to alcohol I mean fuck, most illegal narcotics are safer than alcohol. Do they think junkies are thinking hmm this is illegal so I better not, nah I'm thinking it's time to get fucked up some more or I'm sick gotta find a fix. At least weed is the starting point and hopefully they get to some opiates so I can stop going to that damn clinic. They keep trying to brainwash me into believing since I'm on Uncle Sam's Methadone Plan I'm no longer a junkie, but even worse they actually believe the shit they're selling. No I'm not clean or even remotely close I'm 320MG per day which means after getting to 180 I have to go to a second specialist because the state set limit wasn't enough and it's not cheap. 35-40MG can kill someone with no tolerance I mean why can they give me enough methadone to kill 8 or 9 people but I cannot have some fucking heroin? A drunk can go out run over a family and do probation but I cannot sit in my living room and shoot up?

I get the point of the laws and even if they are stupid I get that the point of breaking them shows civil disobedience, but not while alcohol is legal. I also realize most people thinking about me talking about shooting up is probably fucked up and slightly scary, but alcohol makes me extremely violent and heroin makes me smooth, joke around, and nod off to la-la-land. I cannot understand that it's a brainwashed mentality and I have a fucking sears YES SEARS catalog with heroin for sale in it before it was illegal.

I started drinking in 1996 which led to fight after fight after fight win some lose some and the last time I was drunk was 1998, I almost killed a man which would have destroyed the life of his wife and kids I vowed to never drink again. 1999 I go hooked on dope no events 2000 no events 2001 no events 2002 no events 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 no events 2007 busted for possession probation forced to quit the good shit my no drinking vow was broken 2008 I beat a mean to death in a bar fight while almost being beat to death myself I was in a coma until 2009.. Still fucked up after that I got some help and started going to the clinic and while I see no reason for it I should have started there a very long time ago..

Yeah I have more issues than a schoolboy on a catholic fishing trip.

some facts about the drug war (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 9 months ago | (#45896357)

we illegally funded drug cartels through two presidencies to back insurgencies in countless south american and central american countries which then proceeded to use terrorism to destroy hospitals, schools and police stations in an epidemic of violence designed to hijack the democratic process and install pro-america dictators.

these drug trades are directly empowered today by a failed american drug policy designed to incarcerate minorities for petty drug convictions and generate a permanent, unspoken underclass of ex convicts in america who promise private prisons guaranteed recidivism by systems in place designed to deny them government assistance, housing, voting rights and mandate they pay reparations for their imprisonment.

the headline should read "cartels use sophisticated mining and drilling equipment to create transnational underground pipeline" but thats not as funny as 'fire-truck sized' which serves to distract the audience from how the largely downplayed cartels in mexico managed to secure over a million dollars in heavy equipment and expertise to do this.

Re:some facts about the drug war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896461)

The size of the device is dumbed to understandable unites, but how about the weight of it; how many elephants is it? And how many football fields is the tunnel long?

commend ingenuity (1)

mrpazuzu2 (948175) | about 9 months ago | (#45896369)

Of course whatever they do will have a certain shelf life but this seems an excellent, expensive and drilling at angles is not for the average crew, technical effort. Down side, the more technical the more uncommon people involved, the more uncommon people the more the likelihood you are going to tell someone something you don't want them to know. That will most probably the failure.

Package delivery (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 9 months ago | (#45896377)

Finally package delivery through a pneumatic tube system takes off! And we have years to perfect it before the year 3000 when everyone will be to lazy to walk across town and just take the tube.

So in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896467)

They're using big trucks to create a series of tubes?

in the near future... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45896479)

if this goes on, we can see big jumps in the quantum teleportation field. They have the money and the motivation.

Upgrade (1)

Alarash (746254) | about 9 months ago | (#45896549)

Let's just hope they don't upgrade their HDDs to SSDs!
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