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Officials: Man Paid $390K for Old KFC, Used It in 'Conspiracy'

Drug tunnel discovered under it
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2018 3:53 AM CDT
Authorities released this photo of the tunnel entrance.   (Border Patrol)
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(Newser) – A 600-foot tunnel was discovered leading from under a bed in Mexico to the kitchen of a former KFC restaurant in Arizona—and authorities do not believe a fast food aficionado was responsible. Authorities say the cross-border tunnel was used to smuggle drugs including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl, the BBC reports. The tunnel was found after Yuma, Arizona, resident Ivan Lopez was pulled over on Aug. 13 and officers found hundreds of pounds of narcotics in the trailer his pickup was towing, including 7 pounds of fentanyl, enough for about 3 million doses of the powerful opioid, KYMA reports. Authorities say the drugs had a street value of around $1.2 million.

Court records state that Lopez bought the abandoned KFC building, which sits around 200 yards north of the Mexican city of San Luis Colorado, in April, paying $390,000 in cash, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The tunnel was discovered after investigators searched the building and spotted a hole in the floor. "This tunnel would take this drug trafficking organization a long time to construct and would have been very expensive," a federal complaint states. It would have required a "combination of several individuals on both sides of the border, engaged in an intricate, risky transnational conspiracy to construct such a secretive structure." (A 2,600-foot drug tunnel was found in California in 2016.)

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