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Inside the Custom-Built Submarines Narcos Use to Secretly Ship Tons of Cocaine Into America

Sarah Barns - The Sun
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October 10, 2017

Navy sailors ride atop a 10-meter submarine packed with 5.8 tons of cocaine, as it's towed into the port of Salina Cruz, Mexico. The vessel was equipped with GPS and a compass. Four Colombian crew members were taken into custody. (Associated Press)

Mexican and South American cartels are using custom-built submarines to secretly ship tons of narcotics into the US.

The first incognito vessel was detected in 1993. It was built from wood and fiberglass, but could not fully submerge and only travelled at 10 miles per hour.

With billions of dollars in annual revenue at stake, Colombian gangs have since devised specialist machines to smuggle cocaine, heroin, cannabis and methamphetamine to American buyers.

The subs are favored over speedboats because they are near-impossible for radar, sonar and infrared systems to spot.

A police officer walks through a submarine that was discovered under construction in a rural town just outside of Bogota. Police say it would have been capable of shipping 200 tons of cocaine. (Associated Press)

... Built covertly in the Amazonian jungle, the boats can take between five months to a year to make and cost $2 million - but this is small fry when the cargo they carry has a street value of hundreds of millions.

As the vessel is purpose built to transport illicit cargo, the cabin is tiny. Four men will man the sub, and their quarters will be the size of a double bed.

There are no toilet facilities or kitchen areas meaning the crew must plan supplies in advance. They often survive on crackers, canned beans and milk.

Poor ventilation can see the inside temperature of the sub reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rubbish litters the interior of a 10-meter submarine packed with 5.8 tons of cocaine at the port of Salina Cruz, Mexico (Associated Press)

Read the rest at The Sun

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