Drug Smugglers' Subs Could Open US to Terrorists

Semi-submersibles are difficult to detect
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 17, 2008 11:21 AM CDT
This undated handout image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, taken in Nov. of 2006, shows a self-propelled semi-submersible, foreground, off the coast of Costa Rica.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Semi-submersible boats used to smuggle drugs into the US could provide a path into the country for terrorists or their weapons, the Boston Globe reports. “If drug cartels can ship up to 10 tons of cocaine in a semi-submersible, they can clearly ship or rent space to a terrorist organization,” wrote a Navy official in a military journal.

The boats, which rise some 18 inches above the surface, are “harder to track than an airplane or a regular boat” and don’t “rely on an extensive network of corruption the way smuggling through a container port might,” says an expert. And they appear to be growing in popularity: the Coast Guard has spotted 27 semi-submersibles this year, more than the past 6 years combined. Many more are thought to have slipped through undetected. (Read more terrorist stories.)