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ARCHITECT'S 'DRUGS TUNNEL' REVEALED

NEWS IN PICTURES

Arizona State authorities have released these images of a 'drugs tunnel' running under the US/Mexico border whose designer, a Mexican architect, was last week sentenced to 18 years in prison. Felipe de Jesus Corona-Verbera masterminded the technically complex structure, which stretched 61m and was hidden by an extraordinary hydraulic entrance. The 52-year-old was convicted in a US court of drug-smuggling charges and of being the in-house architect for the highly violent Guzmán drug-trafficking organisation. Corona-Verbera had been on the run for 13 years before being arrested in Mexico in 2003. Among other exploits he had designed a series of secret rooms in buildings and warehouses used to store currency, drugs and weapons.

The tunnel - which was discovered in 1990 - was designed with a hugely complicated hidden entrance.

A tap was turned outside a Mexican house on the border which caused a section of concrete ooring under a pool table inside to rise 2.5m into the air through the use of hydraulic pumps. This revealed a shaft which dropped 10m to the tunnel, which extended under the border and came up through a false drain into a warehouse in the US. The extraordinary structure was discovered only after more than 900kg of cocaine had made its way into the US through the passage.

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