Central and South American drug runners are continuing to create new specialized smuggling vessels to move narcotics into the U.S., as evidenced by a sophisticated electric submersible seized earlier this month.
On Nov. 5 the Colombian Navy, assisting by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement agencies, raided an artisan boatyard near the Cucurrupí River in the Chocó area of Colombia. Under a makeshift roof they discovered a high-capacity narco submarine, the Colombian Navy announced on Twitter.
The submarine is estimated to have cost $1.5 million to construct, according to officials. Based on the plans that were seized by Colombian authorities, had it sailed, it would have carried some six metric tons of cocaine towards the American market, valued at around $120 million.
Put into perspective, most narco submarines interdicted by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard carry around 1.6 metric tons of cocaine, worth approximately $30 to 35 million. The trend had been towards smaller payloads per trip, but the discovery of the new submarine points toward a trend reversal.