One Dead Found in a Sunken Submersible in Panama

By Dialogo
December 07, 2012

Costa Rican coastguards pursued a submersible that carried cocaine on board, and sank in Panamanian waters, leaving one dead and three detainees – two Honduran citizens and a third one from Colombia – who were brought to the Panamanian police, informed an official Costa Rican source on December 5.

The drug commissioner of Costa Rica, Mauricio Boraschi, said that 66 packages of cocaine weighing about a kilo each were found in the boat. However, they presume that due to the size of the vessel, there could be about 4,000 kilos of cocaine inside.

Boraschi said that one passenger, suspected of activating the device to sink the submersible, was already dead when the Costa Rican authorities arrived in the area.

“When we were there, an American frigate arrived, and then a plane from the Panamanian Air Naval Service came to assist, so we handed in the detainees and the cargo as well. The arrestees will be prosecuted for drug trafficking in Panama,” explained Boraschi.

The Costa Rican Minister of Security informed that the National Coast Guard Service (SNG) pursued the submersible after receiving an alert from a U.S. plane flying in the area.

The SNG’s Chief of Operations, Rodolfo Murillo, explained to AFP that the Costa Rican coast guards entered Panamanian waters after requesting permission to the Panamanian Air Naval Service to perform the joint operation.

Following the chase, the vessel sank in Panamanian waters, 74 kilometers from Sixaola, a border town between Costa Rica and Panama.

Panamanian authorities said that the submersible sank in very deep waters, for which specialized divers are required to reach the area.