Colombia’s navy successfully intercepts 49-foot narco-submarine filled with 795 kilograms of cocaine off the Pacific coast

Colombia’s navy successfully intercepts 49-foot narco-submarine filled with 795 kilograms of cocaine off the Pacific coast

The homemade vessel, en route to Central America, was apprehended outside the seaport city of Buenaventura on a Saturday morning.

The cargo, valued at approximately $23.8 million, consisted of nearly 800 packages adorned with scorpion and Mexican flag stickers.

Suspects in Custody

Four individuals, whose identities were not disclosed, were taken into custody in connection with the intercepted narco-sub.

Each package, stamped with distinct symbols, had the potential to produce two million doses.

Despite this sizable seizure, Navy spokesman Captain Wilmer Roa noted that it was relatively modest compared to previous instances, citing submarines seized with almost 3,500 kilos of drugs.

Narco-Submarine Construction and Risks

Roa explained that drug trafficking organizations repurpose speedboat hulls to construct narco-submarines, allowing them to operate just below the sea surface.

He highlighted the dangers associated with these vessels, including mechanical failures and limited ventilation, sometimes resulting in fatalities for those inside.

Persistent Challenges in Cocaine Production

Despite ongoing efforts to intercept drug shipments, the Colombian government faces challenges in curbing cocaine production.

Rebel groups and drug trafficking gangs, filling the void left by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrillas after the 2016 peace deal, have expanded their influence.

The UN’s Office for Drug and Crime reported a record 230,000 hectares of coca bushes in Colombia in 2022, with potential cocaine production increasing by 24% from the previous year to reach 1,700 tons.

Regional Impact and Cooperation

As Colombia grapples with rising cocaine production, neighboring Ecuador has become a key route for drug trafficking organizations.

In a coordinated effort, Ecuadorian officials announced the seizure of a submarine carrying 3.2 tons of cocaine, with information provided by Colombia’s navy.

This regional collaboration underscores the shared challenges and ongoing efforts to combat illicit drug trafficking.

Recent Narco-Sub Intercept

In a separate incident in late December, the Colombian military intercepted another narco-submarine carrying 1,697 kilograms of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the western province of Nariño.

The interception highlights the persistent nature of drug trafficking activities in the region.