Saturday, March 21, 2020

Narco Subs

With cocaine production at record highs, authorities say the semi-submersible has become the favored tool to smuggle cocaine. 33 semi-submersibles were intercepted in 2019, most of them along Colombia’s Pacific coast. 80% of Colombia’s drug trade moves out through the Pacific, and about 14% sent via the Caribbean. The rest is smuggled across land borders.
Tumaco is situated just north of the border with Ecuador, in Colombia’s southwestern Narino department, which has more land under coca cultivation than anywhere else in the world.

The subs are notoriously difficult for navy patrols or radar to detect.

The subs are built in the labyrinth of mangroves that make up much of Colombia’s Pacific coast.
Most trips are two or three days. The subs are crewed by two to four men. Longer voyages require resupply at sea. Questions about longer trips were answered in Nov when a 22 meter vessel was busted off Spain’s Galician coast carrying 3 tonnes.
The cartels are constantly upping their game. They are using winged torpedo-like tubes known as “parasites” These are fixed to the underside of large ships. A new tactic is a GPS-equipped “buoyed cargo” designed for clandestine recovery at sea.