Cocaine Moves by Submarine
New method confounds drug enforcement efforts
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2008 10:36 AM CDT
This photo released by Colombia's Navy shows naval officers arresting crew members of a homemade submarine allegedly used to transport cocaine, intercepted on the Pacific ocean, in southern Colombia,...   (AP Photo/Colombian Navy)
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(Newser) – Cocaine traffickers have embraced a startling new method to transport their product into America, the Economist reports: homemade submersibles. The cartels themselves seem to be producing the small craft, which descend to just below the waterline. They sport large cargo space and fuel tanks that allow them to sail far out to sea before dropping their payloads.

In 2006, US officials spotted only three of the craft; now they see 10 a month. The submarines don’t usually unload directly, but transfer their cargo to speedboats once they near the shore. Some analysts say use of the craft may be Colombian producers' way of cutting out the Mexican middleman they partnered with in the ‘90s to deliver their product to the US.