David Dodd 1:48 a.m., May 18
Swarm of earthquakes in no way related to blasting during construction of massive drug tunnel by Sinaloa cartel, assures Sinaloa cartel.
Series of minor quakes in Brawley region almost certainly the result of totally natural causes, say cartel sources, since nothing unusual is going out out there in the desert, certainly not any kind of subterranean construction project designed to facilitate the movement of hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
Sinaloa cartel: "Why would you even ask that?"
ON SHAKY GROUND, BRAWLEY - "It's embarrassing, really," said Sinaloa cartel spokesman Julio Jones. "All this talk of a cross-border underground tunnel wide enough to support two-way automobile traffic, with paved roads, climate-controlled ventilation, and electricity for both lighting and communications systems is the worst kind of paranoid conspiracy theorizing. Science has a perfectly credible explanation for these quakes, and it has to do with the fact that the elevation in the area is actually below sea level. Geologically, there's no place like it in the United States. There are hundreds of small fissures in the earth's surface in that kind of earth, and those fissures release magma from the earth's molten core. Now, magma can't hold plate-energy as well as cool rock. When it releases that energy, you get these earthquake swarms. Simple, really. But some people just don't think scientifically - they have to gussy up the truth with some kind of wild story about controlled explosions and illegal organizations burrowing under their feet to avoid detection. It's pure superstition."
"Think about it," continued Jones. "The logistics are staggering. In order to pull this off, the Sinaloa cartel would have to have influence at multiple levels of government and law enforcement. It would have to be able to somehow coerce professional engineers and construction crews into doing its bidding. And it would need millions upon millions of dollars to finance the operation - you can't just head down to Home Depot and pick up a few tons of blasting dynamite, you know. The conspiracy would be massive, and enormously complicated. But still, some people would rather believe that's what's going on, instead of accepting the clear, rational explanation for the quakes."
But when asked who "some people" were and in what forums they were making these accusations against the cartel, Jones was less precise in his response. "Oh, they're around. You know how these people are - they pop up, shoot their mouths off, and then disappear underground."