Police Seize Secret Sub Capable of Carrying 10 Tons of Cocaine
Ecuadorean security forces stand on a submarine being built clandestinely by suspected drug traffickers in mangrove swamps near San Lorenzo. (AP)
July 06, 2010
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – Police in Ecuador seized a 100-foot submarine being built by suspected drug traffickers capable of carrying a crew of six and 10 tons of cocaine on underwater voyages lasting up to 10 days — a “game changer” for U.S. anti-drug and border security efforts, officials said Monday.
A raid Friday by 120 police officers and soldiers netted the fiberglass sub as it was nearing completion in a clandestine “industrial complex” hidden in mangrove swamps near San Lorenzo, a town just south of the Colombian border.
The craft was outfitted with a conning tower, a periscope, air conditioning and “scrubbers” to purify the air, and bunks for a maximum crew of six. But what set the craft apart from semi-submersible craft that drug traffickers have used for years was a complex ballast system that would have enabled it to dive as deep as 65 feet before surfacing.