Colombian traffickers using submarines to smuggle drugs

April 8th, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by admin  

Mexico City, April 8 (IANS) Colombia’s biggest drug smuggling ring is using submarines to smuggle cocaine into Mexico for eventual delivery in the US, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Tuesday. The Norte del Valle cartel has set up plants in the Colombian jungles for building submarines and hundred of vessels are now smuggling the contraband to Mexico for US destinations, Admiral James Stavridis, chief of US Southern Command, told Mexican daily Milenio.

The subs surface several kms off the Mexican coast, from where speedboats bring the drugs ashore, he said.

The fibreglass or metal submarines, each costing $2 million and capable of transporting up to 10 tonnes of drugs, can travel at a depth of 5 meters, he said.

The vessels carry up to four crewmen, but some remote-controlled submarines have been detected this year, the admiral said.

In 2006, US Coast Guard and naval patrol captured three such vessels. The number of impounded vessels rose to 40 in 2007 and midway this year, at least 100 such submarines have been captured, he said.

The submarines, which use specially adapted diesel engines and can travel at up to ten km an hour, can be mistaken by sonar detector for dolphins or whales due to their size.

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