SAN DIEGO — An Oceanside truck driver pleaded guilty Thursday to transporting more than 19,400 pounds of marijuana to various distribution points in California.
Carlos Cunningham Jr., 29, admitted in San Diego federal court that he drove multiple trailer loads of marijuana from San Diego to the Central District of California, and that he was aware the marijuana was smuggled into the United States from Mexico through a cross-border tunnel. He faces 21 to more than 27 years in federal prison when he is sentenced April 18, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri Walker Hobson.
Cunningham was followed from the tunnel’s exit point — a warehouse in San Diego — to the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Temecula.
The 600-yard underground tunnel was discovered November 2. Agents seized an additional 28,782 pounds of marijuana from the warehouse, authorities said. Mexican authorities seized 9,878 pounds of marijuana from the tunnels entrance in a Tijuana home.
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, more than 77 cross-boarder smuggling tunnels have been detected in the last four years by federal authorities, mostly in California and Arizona.