YUMA, Ariz. - In this week’s cracking the case, we dig into the drug tunnel that was uncovered almost a year ago inside what used to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken in San Luis, Arizona last August.
The amount of fentanyl that the San Luis Police Department’s canine officer found was lethal enough to kill almost half the State of Arizona.
San Luis Police (SLPD) Chief Richard Jessup explained the arrest was a team effort with homeland security investigations and border patrol initially realizing something wasn’t quite right.
SLPD explained they made the traffic stop that set the discovery in motion.
The tunnel stretched from a neighborhood San Luis, Mexico to a vacant fast-food restaurant located a couple of hundred yards from the border.
SLPD's role was arresting the man who law enforcement says is behind the tunnel, Ivan Lopez.
"The person had been seen taking some tools, what they thought were tools and stuff like that and one of our dogs alerted to it and once they alert to it, then we have what they call probable cause to conduct a search to do that and that’s when all the drugs were discovered and the suspect was placed under arrest," described Chief Jessup.
118 kilograms of methamphetamine, six grams of cocaine, three kilograms of fentanyl, 13 kilograms of white heroin, and six kilograms of brown heroin inside the toolboxes.
It was discovered that Lopez's tunnel had ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel.
“To know those cartels are in your own backyard is frightening to say the least because you never know what that person is associated to," explained Chief Jessup.
That does not mean officers aren’t prepared to put the uniform every day to protect the community.
“That’s why every single day people put on that uniform. They never know who they’re going to come into contact with. They never know if they will get into a loss of life situation where we have to make those kinds of decisions,” said Chief Jessup.