Cocaine-transporting Submarine Seized

Washington, July 4 (IANS) A fully functional 30-metre-long submarine, built exclusively for transporting massive amounts of cocaine was seized by Ecuadorean and US drug enforcement officials, a media report said.

A drug-trafficking organisation built the vessel that was near the Ecuador-Colombia border, and one man was taken into custody, the authorities said.

The diesel and electric-powered vessel was about 30 metres long and nearly three meters high from the deck plates to the ceiling, the CNN reported.

"This is the first seizure of a clandestinely-constructed, fully-operational submarine built to facilitate trans-oceanic drug trafficking," the US Drug Enforcement Administration said.

"Traffickers earlier employed slow-moving fishing boats, sail boats and pleasure crafts," Jay Bergman, regional director for the agency, said.

"The advent of the narco-submarine presents new detection challenges for maritime interdiction forces. The submarine's nautical range, payload capacity and quantum leap in stealth have raised the stakes for the counter-drug forces and the national security community alike," he said.

The submarine was constructed in a "remote jungle environment in an effort to elude law enforcement or military interdiction," he said.


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