Drug Cartels Aim to Master the Deep

Narcotics gangs are increasingly relying on submersibles to transport cocaine
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2008 7:41 PM CST
A Costa Rica's Coastguard seaman keeps watch 19 November, 2006 at the Punta Arenas naval base, some 130 km west from San Jose, near to a midget submarine (R) seized November 17th to Colombian drug traffickers...   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Colombian drug cartels are increasingly relying on homemade submersibles to transport cocaine, the Washington Post reports, with 13 such vessels seized last year—more than in the previous 14 combined. The vehicles skim just under the waves, nearly invisible to sonar and aircraft. And even enforcement officials have grudging respect for the ingenuity the traffickers show in constructing them.

"What's most striking is the logistical capacity of these criminals to take all this material into the heart of the jungle, including heavy equipment like propulsion gear and generators," says one Colombian naval commander. He also suggests that once seized, the subs should be placed in a museum, as "part of the history of our country."