Law enforcement officials say that more than a third of the cocaine smuggled into the U.S. from Colombia travels in submersibles, the Wshington Post reports. An experiment just two years ago, the strange semi-submarines now are the cutting edge of drug trafficking. They ferry hundreds of tons of cocaine for powerful Mexican cartels that are taking over the Pacific Ocean route for most northbound shipments, says the Colombian navy.
The sub-builders are trying to develop a remote-controlled model. “That means no crew. That means just cocaine, or whatever, inside the boat,” said Michael Braun, a former official of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The subs are powered by ordinary diesel engines and built of fiberglass in clandestine shipyards in the Colombian jungle. U.S. officials expect 70 or more to be launched this year with a capacity of 380 tons of cocaine, worth billions of dollars in the United States. “This is definitely the next generation of smuggling conveyance,” said Tampa federal drug prosecutor Joseph Ruddy.