Last week's interdiction is the DEA's second victory this month battling drug trafficking organizations' new fleet of sophisticated smuggling technologies. On July 2, the DEA provided Ecuadorian military and police authorities with intelligence that uncovered for the first time the construction of a full submarine for cocaine smuggling in the jungles of Ecuador. One individual was taken into custody by Ecuadorian authorities during the raid.
"The twin-screw, diesel electric-powered submarine is about 30 meters long and about nine feet high from the deck plates to the ceiling. The sophisticated vessel also has a conning tower, periscope and air conditioning system," the DEA press release states.
The discovery didn't come as a surprise to U.S. officials—drug enforcement official and the intelligence community have long predicted drug traffickers would build or purchase full submarines for their underground business. "It was only a matter of time," said Sanders.
"The advent of the narco-submarine presents new detection challenges for maritime interdiction forces," DEA Andean Regional Director Jay Bergman said in a statement. "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.”
♦ Photo of SPSS by U.S. Coast Guard
♦ Photo of Ecuadorian drug sub by DEA