Feds: Cross-border tunnel found in Southern California

An official looks a secret cross-border tunnel in the California desert on Wednesday, March 23.

CBS affiliate KFMB via ICE

Last Updated Mar 23, 2016 4:30 PM EDT

SAN DIEGO -- U.S. authorities say they have discovered a secret cross-border tunnel in the California desert.

Authorities scheduled a news conference Wednesday afternoon in a residential area of Calexico, a city of about 40,000 people located 120 miles east of San Diego.

A media advisory from federal authorities says the tunnel links Calexico with the large industrial city of Mexicali, Mexico, but provided no details.

Dozens of tunnels designed to smuggle drugs have been found along the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years. Some have been equipped with hydraulic lifts and electric rail cars.

Mexico's Sinaloa cartel has long controlled drug trafficking along the border in California's Imperial Valley, which offers easy freeway access to Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Joaquin Guzman, the cartel's leader known by his Spanish nickname, "El Chapo" or Shorty, was the first Mexican drug trafficker to hire architects and mining engineers to build elaborate super-tunnels, complete with ventilation systems, electricity and railways, to ferry drugs under the U.S.-Mexico border, CBS' "60 Minutes" reported last fall.

When Guzman escaped from prison for the second time in July, he did so through a mile-long escape tunnel that opened up right into his shower stall, the only corner of his tiny cell security cameras couldn't see.

Mexican authorities recaptured Guzman in January.