Pacific Naval Forces Seize First Submarine in Colombian Jungle
By Dialogo February 16, 2011
A submarine with the capacity to transport more than seven tons of cocaine was seized on 14 February in an estuary in a rural area of the municipality of Timbiquí, department of Cauca, on the South Pacific, by units of the Pacific Naval Force, with support from the Colombian Air Force and members of the Investigative Technical Corps (CTI).
The illegal vessel, which measures more than 31 meters in length and 2.5 in width, was ready to be loaded. The vessel uses advanced technology seen in the country for the first time, and its construction is estimated to have cost the drug-trafficking gangs more than four billion pesos.
The technology used in building the vessel enables it to navigate entirely beneath the surface of the ocean, making it practically undetectable and thereby differentiating it from vessels seized previously and classified as “semi-submersibles.”
This submarine is made of fiberglass with carbon-fiber reinforcements and has diesel propulsion. It has modern navigation systems and a periscope. Once it has been transferred to the Málaga Naval Base, the relevant inspections will be made.
Since 1993, when the first seizure of a semi-submersible was recorded on Providence Island, sixty-one vessels have been seized or discovered while still under construction. Six discoveries were recorded in 2010 and a record total of twenty in 2009.
At the same time, primitive kitchen facilities and 720 gallons of liquid raw materials for processing illicit substances were found in the area, as well as two rifles (an AK-47 and a Galil), ammunition of various calibers, and communications equipment.
With this heavy blow, the Pacific Naval Force has succeeded in weakening the logistical and financial structures of the criminal gangs active in the Colombian southwest, as well as in effectively counteracting the advance of new transportation modalities used by criminal organizations for the shipment of alkaloids to international markets.