Colombia Nabs FARC Drug Sub

By Dialogo
September 27, 2011

Colombian authorities have seized a stealth submarine apparently belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels which was designed to transport tons of cocaine to destinations in Central America, police said.

The large, wood-and-fiberglass submersible was discovered in an area along the coast some 100 kilometers from the busy port of Buenaventura, west of Bogota, anti-narcotics police chief General Luis Perez told reporters.

“It can fit 10 tons of cocaine” and “belongs to the 29th front of the FARC guerrillas in alliance with drug gangs that operate in Valle del Cauca” department in the country’s south, Perez said.

The vessel cost about $1.7 million, could host a crew of five, and was being prepared to transport cocaine to Central America, officials said.

Since 1993 authorities have seized 66 semi-submersibles used to smuggle drugs, including seven in 2011, according to the Colombian Navy.

The Marxist FARC along with other current and former paramilitary groups have waged a violent campaign to control parts of Colombia’s Pacific coast, which is a key drug trafficking staging ground.

Colombia ranks as the world’s largest producer of cocaine, with 350 tons in 2010, and drug cartels are constantly seeking out new ways to remain under the radar.

The subs have gained favor with cartels because they can carry such large amounts of drugs and can be easily abandoned or sunk by traffickers, who can then pose as castaways.