U.S. border control authorities have discovered two cross-border tunnels in Mexico and Southern California, where drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera and his Sinaloa cartel were known to operate, Latin American news agency Telesur reported Sunday. The discovery of the tunnels prompted questions concerning whether the captured criminal may be continuing to direct operations for his cartel's narcotics trafficking.

One of the tunnels was discovered after an agent noticed an unusual depression in the ground. Another was found beneath a Calexico, California, home that wound under the U.S.-Mexican border and ended in a restaurant in Mexicali, Mexico. “This is exactly what our Border Patrol agents are on patrol for,” El Centro Sector Chief Rodney Scott said in a statement. “They are on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary along our vast Southwest border. This agent saw something that didn’t look quite right, and it turned out to be a tunnel.”


El Chapo, who has run one of the most successful drug-trafficking operations for decades, is known by his nickname, "King of the Tunnels." Mexican authorities arrested him in January following a monthslong search and investigation. An interview El Chapo gave to actor Sean Penn for Rolling Stone magazine, along with a suspiciously large taco order, led authorities to discover his whereabouts. Guzman has used underground tunnels to escape from prison before, as he did in July 2015.

The head of the multibillion-dollar drug cartel that has been trafficking across U.S.-Mexican borders joined the drug trade in the 1970s and is now believed to be around 60 years old. Border authorities have discovered more than 120 tunnels officially linked to him in the past 5 to 10 years, according to the same report in Telesur. El Chapo is currently being held in the same Mexican prison he escaped from in 2015, though he is now under a constant rotation of guards as his lawyers fight extradition to the U.S.