Forget going to Grandma’s house to eat homemade cookies, get tucked into bed and hear a fairy tale story. A drug smuggling 73 year old woman, who rides around town in a white Cadillac, is interested in none of that. In fact, she would probably never be able to find the time for anything related to being a gramdma. Instead, she’s been accused of tunneling hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Mexico into the U.S. using an underground passage located inside and underneath a warehouse disguised as a business. On Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Glennys “Gladys” Rodriguez, of Chula Vista, Calif after having eyed her storehouse for many months.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said that the case is another in an ongoing problem with drug cartels smuggling millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs using extensive systems of underground tunnels lining with concrete and rails to carry out their business. However, Duffy says, engaging in such practices is not a good “business” for these cartels because officials are already aware of the tunnels and have been cracking down on these types of enterprises.
So far, authorities say, they have uncovered seven of these underground tunnel border passages and they’ve pledged to look for more until all of the existing structures have been infiltrated by law enforecment and the drug operations shut down. All together the tunnels make up seven miles of “road” on which the grandma drug smuggler–the 73 year old woman accused of smuggling marijuana, and others have been conducting their affairs.
Earlier on the week, before the arrest, the first passage was found after a five month long probe by investigators. In a location called Otay Mesa, representatives from the San Diego Tunnel Task Force discovered two advanced smuggling passages within a commercial park surrounded by multiple large highways, desert and hills linking the U.S. to Tijuana.
Grandma drug smuggler Rodriguez was not the one listed as renting the location but she was busted anyway. She initially tried to conceal her involvement by telling police that she was a legitimate businesswoman running a company to help people with doing their taxes and with immigration issues. Apparently the main issues she was helping them with had nothing to do with anything legal and everything to do with sourcing huge amounts of marijuana for a complex drug smuggling business.
The Department of Homeland Security said it could take credit for being diligent in uncovering these types of passageways. Authorities didn’t say exactly how many of these tunnels might exist, and the fact that they are located inside privately owned businesses and buildings may make uncovering all of them an enormous and difficult task.
A 73 year old woman has been accused of smuggling marijuana through a sophisticated underground system of tunnels that link Mexico to the U.S. This grandma drug smuggler is undoubtedly just one in a long line of people involved in illegal drug cartels operating major drug businesses underground. Authorities say they will persist in their efforts until all of these types of underground operations are closed down for good.
By: Rebecca Savastio