Chris Kraul reports from Bogota, Colombia, for the Los Angeles Times:
Police in Ecuador seized a 100-foot submarine being built by suspected drug traffickers capable of carrying a crew of six and 10 tons of cocaine on underwater voyages lasting up to 10 days — a “game changer” for U.S. anti-drug and border security efforts, officials said Monday.
A raid Friday by 120 police officers and soldiers netted the fiberglass sub as it was nearing completion in a clandestine “industrial complex” hidden in mangrove swamps near San Lorenzo, a town just south of the Colombian border.
The craft was outfitted with a conning tower, a periscope, air conditioning and “scrubbers” to purify the air, and bunks for a maximum crew of six. But what set the craft apart from semi-submersible craft that drug traffickers have used for years was a complex ballast system that would have enabled it to dive as deep as 65 feet before surfacing.
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Previously, drug traffickers were known to use ships that resembled submarines but that actually cruised just below the ocean surface to avoid visual detection…
[continues in the Los Angeles Times]