Colombia Captures Prince of Semisubmersibles

Colombia Captures Prince of Semisubmersibles

By Yolima Dussán/Diálogo
April 14, 2021

The Colombian National Police captured Oscar Adriano Quintero Rengifo, alias Guatala, known as the prince of semisubmersibles, on February 5, 2021, in Valle del Cauca, the institution reported. The narcotrafficker had links to the Mexican cartel Jalisco New Generation, and coordinated large cocaine shipments bound for Mexico and the United States, the statement added.

According to authorities, Quintero would send cocaine shipments using semisubmersibles and speedboats that departed from hard-to-reach areas on the Pacific coast of Colombia. His area of influence were believed to be Chocó and Nariño, where extensive narcotrafficking corridors are located, the news portal Semana reported.

Colombian Navy Rear Admiral José David Espitia Jiménez, commander of the 72nd Poseidon Task Force against Narcotrafficking, told Diálogo that they have found up to 8 tons of cocaine in semisubmersibles. (Photo: Colombian Navy)

On February 6, Major General Jorge Luis Vargas, director of the Colombian National Police, told the press that this person “was wanted for extradition by the U.S. government, by the District Court of the Middle District of Florida, for crimes related to narcotrafficking.”

Age 33, this person coordinated large cocaine shipments used in maritime routes in Nariño and Cauca departments, the Police said.

“He was posing as a businessman in the transport and sports industries, surrounded by luxury, eccentricities, and wealth, such as ranches, stud farms, luxury hotels, car washes, and freight vehicles, property with a commercial value of more than $3 million,” Gen. Vargas told the Colombian newspaper El Espectador on February 5. “In addition to coordinating illicit substance shipments, he was also in charge of the organization’s criminal income and money laundering through companies that provide services to soccer institutions,” he added.

Asked by Diálogo about the use of semisubmersibles in narcotrafficking, Colombian Navy Rear Admiral José David Espitia Jiménez, commander of the 72nd Poseidon Task Force against Narcotrafficking, said that “narcotrafficking turns to semisubmersibles because they are able to transport larger amounts of narcotics, especially cocaine hydrochloride, and to carry the load in a safer way. We have found up to 8 tons inside them.”

Rear Adm. Espitia said the COVID-19 pandemic accounted for the increased use of these vessels in narcotrafficking, although he added that the vessels are very risky for crews.

“To this date, we’ve intercepted seven semisubmersibles and low-profile speedboats. In total, we’ve seized 11 tons from FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] dissidents and [other] transnational criminal organizations,” Rear Adm. Espitia said.