Colombia Discovers Shipyard Manufacturing Submarines

By Dialogo
October 20, 2011

The Colombian police, with the support of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, discovered an improvised submarine factory and confiscated a submersible under construction, which is an indication that drug traffickers continue to use this method to export cocaine to North America.

The director of the Anti-narcotics Police, General Luis Alberto Pérez, announced that the site for building the submersibles, with wooden buildings capable of housing around 40 people, was discovered in a jungle area near the municipality of Puerto Escondido, in the department of Córdoba, near the Caribbean Sea.

The police commander said that both the fiberglass submarine, with the capacity to transport six tons of cocaine, and the improvised shipyard, belonged to the criminal gang known as “Los Urabeños”.

Criminal gangs made up of former extreme-right-wing paramilitaries have become the new U.S. objective due to their active ties to the production and trafficking of cocaine, which they export to the Mexican cartels that control the business, according to security sources.

Submarines have been one of the methods most used by drug traffickers in recent years to export cocaine, taking advantage of the South American country’s geographical situation, surrounded by two oceans that make it a strategic location for illegal activity.

Colombia, the world’s leading producer of cocaine, yielding around 300 tons a year, has faced an internal conflict for the past five decades against leftist guerrilla groups and criminal gangs that obtain billions of dollars from drug trafficking.

From 1993 to the present, the Colombian Navy and police have confiscated 71 submarines used to send shipments of cocaine to North America.

The United States, Colombia’s chief ally in the fight against drug trafficking, has given Bogotá more than $6 billion in military equipment, training, and social-assistance programs since 2000.

Colombia confiscated 156 tons of cocaine in 2010, and more than 80 tons have been seized so far this year, according to official statistics.

The enormous profits of drug trafficking and Colombia’s geographical position are the chief obstacles to eradicating this crime in the South American country, according to police sources.