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Photo: Customs and Border Protection

Federal agents have found the "longest illicit cross-border tunnel ever discovered along the Southwest border," Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday.

Details: The drug-smuggling tunnel stretches for 4,309 feet to connect an industrial site in Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego, per a CBP statement. "It includes an extensive rail/cart system, forced air ventilation, high voltage electrical cables and panels, an elevator at the tunnel entrance, and a complex drainage system," the statement notes.

  • The passageway is about 70 feet underground and is about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and 2 feet wide.
  • After the tunnel was discovered in late August by CBP and its partners, Mexican law enforcement identified the entrance, and members of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force began mapping it, per the CBP statement.
The sophistication of this tunnel demonstrates the determination and monetary resources of the cartels."
— Statement by DEA's special agent in charge John W. Callery

Why it matters: "While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, the sophistication and length of this particular tunnel demonstrates the time-consuming efforts transnational criminal organizations will undertake to facilitate cross-border smuggling," said Cardell T. Morant, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations San Diego, in the statement.

  • The next longest tunnel in the U.S. was discovered in San Diego in 2014. It was 2,966 feet long.

Go deeper

The risks and rewards of charging state-backed hackers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Last week’s stunning indictment of three North Korean hackers laid bare both the advantages and drawbacks of the U.S. government’s evolving strategy of using high-profile prosecutions to publicize hostile nation-state cyber activities.

Why it matters: Criminal charges can help the U.S. establish clear norms in a murky and rapidly changing environment, but they may not deter future bad behavior and could even invite retaliation against U.S. intelligence officials.

21 mins ago - World

Scoop: Netanyahu asked Biden to keep Trump's sanctions on International Criminal Court

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/ANP/AFP via Getty

Netanyahu asked Biden in their first phone call last week to keep sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in place, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli officials are concerned that removing the sanctions would hamper Israel's efforts to stop a potential war crimes investigation into Israel, and that the court's prosecutor could see it as a signal that the U.S. isn't firmly opposed to that investigation.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

FDA analysis finds Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine is safe and effective

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration's staff released a briefing document on Wednesday endorsing Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine as safe and effective.

The latest: Assuming the FDA issues an emergency use authorization "without delay," meaning as soon as this weekend, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said J&J will have 3 million to 4 million ready for distribution next week.