Largest drug submarine in Colombian history seized with three tons

Largest drug submarine in Colombian history seized with three tons of cocaine

The largest drug submarine in Colombian history. Colombian Army Press / Colombian Army / AFP

The largest drug submarine in Colombia’s history, 30m long and 3m wide, was seized with 3 tons of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean, the Colombian Navy announced this Friday (12).

The ship was detained Tuesday (9) en route to Central America, one of the routes most used by illicit traffic to the United States, the world’s largest consumer of Colombian cocaine.

Images shared by authorities show a dark ship stranded on dry land surrounded by hundreds of drug packages camouflaged with Toyota tags and three arrested men in the middle.

It is the largest semisubmersible ever identified since 1993, when records began in Colombia, the world’s largest producer of cocaine. In three decades, the Navy has seized 228 vehicles of this type, which were loaded with tons of drugs from the Pacific to the United States and even crossed the Atlantic to get to Europe.

The detained crew, of Colombian nationality, asserted that they “were forced by a drug trafficking organization to board the semisubmersible carrying the alkaloid and take it to Central America,” the bulletin said.

After the operation, the men, aged 63, 54 and 45, were taken to Tumaco (south) to appear before the courts.

According to Navy calculations, the seizure caused the organization to lose US$103 million (approximately R$507 million at current exchange rates).

Made in Colombia, these rugged, fast vessels move at sea level, travel longer distances than speedboats, and are difficult to track.

The country’s legislation penalizes the use, construction, sale, possession and transport of semisubmersibles with prison terms of up to 14 years.

After a halfcentury war on drugs, Colombia continues to achieve record cocaine production with US funding and aid.

In 2021, plantations producing the drug covered 204,000 hectares and production of cocaine hydrochloride was around 1,400 tons, according to the United Nations.

Colombia, bloodied after more than half a century of armed conflict, has failed to end drug traffickingsponsored violence that has claimed more than 9 million lives.