Drug-Smuggling Subs Go High-Tech
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2009 2:25 PM CDT
Homemade semi-submersible vessels seized on land by Colombian authorities from drug traffickers.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – It's not a lark anymore: Miniature submarines now carry about a third of the cocaine smuggled into the US. With the numbers up, the Washington Post takes a look at how these so-called semi-submersibles have gotten more and more high-tech over the last 2 years. Authorities say sub builders are even working on plans to run the fiberglass vessels—most of them built in the jungles of Colombia—via remote control.

"The vessels do not fully submerge but skim the sea surface," write William Booth and Juan Forero. "They move quickly at night, then drift like sleeping whales during the day." After traveling from Colombia to Central America, the drugs are transferred to land and the subs sunk. A  typical vessel can carry 6 tons of drugs, worth about $100 million. Said one DEA agent: "You try finding a floating log in the middle of the Pacific."