U.S. Coast Guard
  • New, Improved Cocaine Submarines

    TK
    U.S. Coast Guard
  • New, Improved Cocaine Submarines

    TK
    U.S. Coast Guard
  • New, Improved Cocaine Submarines

    TK
    U.S. Coast Guard
  • War On Drugs

    Operation Twin Oceans was a "multi-jurisdictional investigation" that targeted one of the most-wanted alleged drug kingpins, Colombia's Pablo Rayo-Montano. Authorities say his drug trafficking organization included production, international transportation and distribution. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Rayo-Montano used a vast array of vessels, including the submersible pictured here, to smuggle tons of cocaine from Colombia to the United States and Europe.
    DEA
  • War On Drugs

    The DEA says Rayo-Montano's drug ring was responsible for putting more than 15 tons of Colombian cocaine on U.S. and European streets every month. Operation Twin Oceans, which lasted three years and ended in May 2006, netted Rayo-Montano and more than 100 other individuals, as well as 52 tons of cocaine and nearly $70 million in assets.
    DEA
  • War On Drugs

    This submarine-like craft was captured by the Colombian Navy in July 2007 off the Pacific coast of Colombia. These vessels have become a secret weapon of cartels because they are extremely difficult to detect, especially from the water. The vessels are almost submersed, can evade radar reflections, and usually are painted to blend in with the water. The U.S. has been most effective at spotting submersibles from the air.
    DEA
  • War On Drugs

    Colombian jungles are the main sites for manufacturing these submersibles, according to U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Joe Nimmich, former head of the Joint Interagency Task Force, a multinational anti-drug smuggling task force. The process is simple: get an engine, build the boat around it, load the cocaine, get it in the water and go. Such submersibles are neither comfortable, nor safe, but Rear Adm. Nimmich admitted that the pay is appealing to smugglers. "They get paid a lot of money for it; that's why they do it," he told ABC News in 2007. The image is an outside view of the portholes of a submersible.
    ABC News
  • War On Drugs

    "It's a one-way vessel," Rear Adm. Nimmich told ABC News. "It's the cost of doing business for them [drug cartels]." Although drug cartels often spend a million dollars or more to build a sub, the payoffs can be enormous and justify the cost. Cartels can transport several tons of cocaine with a street value in the hundreds of millions of dollars on each sub. This image shows just how tight it can get inside the submersible.
    ABC News
  • War On Drugs

    The Joint Interagency Task Force tested different sensor sweeps on this captured submersible, in order to find how to better detect other narco subs in the future. Although these craft are difficult to spot, their controls are often cobbled together from spare parts and imprecisely constructed. Typically, the subs are built quickly in the jungle, utilizing power from electric generators, in order to avoid authorities.
    ABC News
  • Cocaine Submarines

    In this photo taken in early January 2009, a drug trafficking crew abandons a semi-submersible vessel before being intercepted by a U.S. ship about 150 miles northwest of the Colombia-Ecuador border. Often, the crews of these semi-submersibles abandon and attempt to sink their vessels to destroy key evidence when they realize that they are about to be captured.
    U.S. Navy
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