The Colombian Navy intercepted a submarine that had roughly 5,800 pounds of cocaine onboard, preventing its distribution.
While patrolling a slice of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Colombia, Colombian naval officers intercepted a submarine drifting in the waves. Onboard, they came across a gruesome discovery — two dead men, two men clinging to life, and nearly three tons of cocaine.
“The Colombian Navy, in the development of maritime control and security operations in the Colombian Pacific, intercepted a semi-submersible approximately 15 meters long, in which 2,643 kilograms [5,826 pounds] of cocaine hydrochloride were transported and would have Central America as its distribution destination,” the Colombian Navy said in a statement.
Inside the submarine, which had taken on a great deal of water, naval officers found two dead men. The Navy also saved the lives of the two survivors onboard, both of whom needed urgent medical attention, possibly due to a malfunction aboard their vessel.
“These people’s poor health state is presumably due to the inhalation of toxic fumes caused by fuel problems inside the boat,” Captain Cristian Andres Guzman Echeverry explained, according to CBS News.
The cocaine, the two dead men, and the two survivors were transported to the coastal Tumaco-Nariño municipality. There, the Technical Investigation Corps of the Attorney General’s Office determined that the drugs onboard were, in fact, cocaine, according to the Colombian Navy.
But though the amount of cocaine aboard the submarine was immense — equivalent to more than six million doses of the drug — it’s hardly the largest drug seizure in recent memory.
As CBS reports, the Colombian Navy seized another “narco sub” last year that had four tons of cocaine onboard worth about $150 million. In 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a submarine with 12,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $165 million. Submarines like these are capable of carrying up to six tons of cocaine and are often outfitted with special technology to help them evade detection.
Fox News reports that narco subs were first conceptualized by Jose Samir Renteria-Cuero, a Colombian man currently serving 27 years in prison after pleading guilty of drug trafficking. A mechanic by trade, Renteria-Cuero developed submarines for drug trafficking and then “recruited mariners to participate in maritime cocaine smuggling operations.”
Illicit submarines in Colombia are not only used for drug smuggling, however. On the same day that the Colombian Navy came across the narco sub with $87 million worth of cocaine, the Independent reports that Colombian officials also seized three other semi-subs.
These vessels are believed to belong to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a guerilla group that tried for decades to overthrow the government and establish a communist state. It was active between 1964 and 2017, but splinter groups like Segunda Marquetalia continue to exist. Segunda Marquetalia is designated a terrorist group by the United States.
Militant groups like these are militant rely on drug trafficking, kidnappings, and other criminal schemes to fund their operations. But the Colombian Navy is determined to contain their activities as much as possible.
In their statement, they said: “The Colombia Navy will continue to use all its capabilities to stop the scourge of narcotrafficking.”
After reading about the submarine discovered off the coast of Colombia with $87 million worth of cocaine onboard, see how Spanish authorities intercepted a trans-Atlantic narco sub with $100 million worth of cocaine onboard. Or, see how wild boars in Italy ate and destroyed $22 million worth of cocaine that someone had hidden in the forest.