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Posted: 12/11/2009 8:17:03 AM EDT
Watch the skies coasts!


A narco submarine (also called narco sub, drug sub and Big Foot submarine) is a custom-made self-propelled semi-submersible built by drug traffickers to smuggle their goods. They are especially known to be used by Colombian drug cartel members to export cocaine from Colombia to the United States.

First detected in 1993, they are popularly called submarines, though strictly speaking they are semi-submersibles because they cannot dive and most of the craft glides under the water with little beyond the cockpit and the exhaust tubes above the water. In other words, a narco sub is a surface vessel with a very low freeboard. Due to their low profile and fiberglass construction, they are nearly undetectable with radar, sonar, and infrared systems

Cocaine smuggling sea vessels
During the 1980s, fast, powerful go-fast boats became notorious as the drug smuggling vessel of choice in many parts of the world. Due to more effective radar coverage, Colombian drug cartels are now adapting to semi-submersible use.

The first time the U.S. Coast Guard found one, authorities dubbed it Bigfoot because they had heard rumors that such things existed, but nobody had actually seen one. It was late 2006 when a Bigfoot was seized 145 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Costa Rica carrying several tons of cocaine. In 2006, American officials say they detected only three; now they are spotting an average of ten per month, but only one out of ten is seized, as their crew scuttle them upon interception.

Little is known about who is behind the new semi-submersibles. One theory is that is part of an effort by Colombian cocaine producers to win back from their Mexican rivals-partners a bigger slice of the profits from drugs. In the 1990s most cocaine began to enter the United States across its southern land border, rather than across the Caribbean. That allowed Mexican gangs to oust Colombians from much of the lucrative distribution business in American cities. Another theory by the U.S. Navy says there is evidence that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is collaborating with trafficking groups to fund its armed activities.

Construction
Colombia's Pacific coastline, where muddy rivers loop into the ocean, has long been a smugglers' paradise. Behind the jagged cliffs that jut into the ocean is a vast jungle, laced with mangrove-fringed coves and virtually thousands of miles of waterways, apt for clandestine shipyards. A Colombian Navy Commander stated that it is most striking to notice the logistical capacity of these criminals to take all this material into the heart of the jungle, including heavy equipment like propulsion gear and generators. Sometimes they are put together in pieces and then reassembled in other locations under the jungle canopy, in camps outfitted with sleeping quarters for workers. The narco submarines can cost up to $1 million USD and take nearly a year to build.

They were considered by officials to be an oddity until 2000, when Colombian police discovered a 30-metre (98 ft) submarine, half-built with the help of North American and Russian engineers, in a warehouse outside Bogota. The double-hulled vessel could have traveled 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km), dived 330 feet (100 m) and carried 150-200 tons of cocaine.


Narco submarine moments before interception by the U.S. Coast Guard in August 2007.Now it seems the traffickers have perfected the design and manufacture: they are faster, more seaworthy, and capable of carrying bigger loads of drugs than earlier models. A 60 feet (18 m) long narco submarine can reach speeds of 11 miles per hour (18 km/h) and carry up to 10 tons of cocaine. They are typically made of fiberglass, powered by a 300/350 hp diesel engine and manned by a crew of four. With enough cargo space to carry two to ten tons of cocaine, they also carry large fuel tanks, giving them a range of 2,000 miles (3,200 km). Because much of its structure is fiberglass and it travels nearly below the sea surface, the vessel is virtually impossible to detect via sonar or radar. Narco submarines also have an upper lead shielding to minimize their 'heat signature' and evade infrared sensors. The newer models have piping along the bottom to allow the water to cool the exhaust as the ship moves, making it even less susceptible to infrared detection. In most cases, this means enforcement agencies must spot them from the air, though they are painted blue and produce almost no wake. They also have ballast tanks to alter the vessel's buoyancy and are equipped with satellite global positioning system to aid navigation[citation needed]. Experts estimate 25 to 40 semi-subs departed South America in 2007 laden with cocaine, and they expected that figure would double in 2008. There is no head (toilet) and the operating space is cramped.

Routes and seizures

The western Colombian shore topography is near ideal for transporting the cocaine produced in clandestine laboratories in nearby Nariño department. About a third of the 600 tons of cocaine coming out of Colombia each year leaves via the Pacific coast and a significant amount is being carried in semi-submersibles. The U.S. Homeland Security estimates that drug submarines now account for 32 percent of all maritime cocaine flow between Latin America and the United States. While the subs are most frequently used from the Pacific coast of Colombia, they are showing up elsewhere as well. The Coast Guard says drug runners have devised a complete logistics system, with fishing boats stationed along the way to warn the crews against patrols and provide them with food and water and resorting to putting refueling vessels far offshore so drug-carrying boats can avoid coastal areas.[12] For traffickers, reaching the U.S.A. is well worth the trouble as a 10-ton load can fetch nearly $200 million USD wholesale. Fishermen hired specifically for the task are often at the controls, and those who complete the trip successfully are paid about $3,000 USD.

Smugglers normally unload their cargo onto fast power boats for the final leg to shore and the semi-submersible is scuttled. None have been sighted unloading at North American ports or beaches. In 2006, a 10 meter long sub was found abandoned on the northern coast of Spain, where the authorities suspect the crew had unloaded a cargo of cocaine before fleeing.[13] In March 2006, the Calabrian mafia ('Ndrangheta) ordered a shipment of 10 tons of cocaine to be transported by a narco submarine from Colombia to Italy, but the vessel was discovered by the Colombian police while it was still under construction.

During 2007, thirteen of the vessels were seized on Colombian dry land or stopped at sea by Colombian or U.S. patrol boats, more than in the previous 14 years combined, but arrests are rare. When clandestine shipyards have been discovered, the workmen have escaped into the jungle. In some instances, the semi-subs are towed behind other vessels and are scuttled if they are detected. Authorities are investigating reports that some semi-submersibles are unmanned and are operated remotely.

In the first six months of 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard along with the U.S. Navy detected 42 drug subs headed north towards the United States and off the coast of Central America, but they are rarely seized. The service estimated that 85 individual events would bring in about 340 tons of cocaine by the end of 2008. The U.S. Coast Guard is currently adjusting its underwater acoustic sensors to 'listen' to a narco sub's engine over a large distance.

On July 16, 2008, the Mexican Navy intercepted a 10 metres (33 ft) long narco submarine travelling about 200 kilometres (120 mi) off the southwest of Oaxaca, Mexico; in a raid, Mexican Navy Special Forces rappelled from a helicopter on to the deck of the narco submarine and arrested four smugglers before they could scuttle their vessel. The vessel was found to be loaded with 5.8 tons of cocaine and was towed to Huatulco, Oaxaca by a Mexican Navy patrol boat.

On September 12, 2008 the U.S. Coast Guard captured a semi-submersible about 563 kilometres (350 mi) west of Guatemala; it was carrying seven tons of cocaine. The 18 metres (59 ft) long, steel and fiberglass craft was detected by a U.S. Navy aircraft as part of Operation Panama Express and was intercepted by Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 402 which was deployed aboard USS McInerney. Five days later, a 60-foot (18 m) semi-submersible was seized by the Coast Guard cutter Midgett about 322 kilometres (200 mi) south of Guatemala.

In late January 2009, a Sri Lankan Army task force found three semi-subs being built by Tamil rebels in the jungles of Mullaitivu. With this discovery, the LTTE became the first terrorist organization to develop underwater weapons. In June 1 and 2, 2009, the Colombian authorities seized three narco submarines on the shores of the Pacific coast, one of them loaded with 1.5 tons of cocaine. The Colombian navy has intercepted or discovered 33 narco subs since 1993.

narco-sun pr0n:





















Coastwatchers! To your beaches!
VP
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:19:15 AM EDT
[#1]
I find it hard to believe they're getting that desperate to resort to this. Couldn't they just sneak the drugs through the thousands of trucks that pass through the border? Border security hardly inspects them.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:20:19 AM EDT
[#2]
Where there's a will, there's a way...
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:25:24 AM EDT
[#3]
Great.  As if submerged shipping containers weren't enough of a hazard offshore.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:25:30 AM EDT
[#4]
I want one
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:27:29 AM EDT
[#5]
Yup, the war on drugs is almost won.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:30:24 AM EDT
[#6]
Quoted:
I want one


No shit. Mini-subs are fucking cool.

Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:33:05 AM EDT
[#7]
Quoted:
I find it hard to believe they're getting that desperate to resort to this. Couldn't they just sneak the drugs through the thousands of trucks that pass through the border? Border security hardly inspects them.


Yes, but then the Mexican drug interests would kill them if caught. What competing cartels do to each other would make one wish to be caught by the .gov pretty quickly. Or they'd have to profit-share and work out some sort of deal with the Mexican criminal organizations.

This way they can sell direct, and it's worth the extra effort.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:33:46 AM EDT
[#8]


Sorry, but the waste of taxpayer dollars, along with the concomitant diversion of law enforcement resources (not to mention the loss of billions in potential tax revenues,) used to fight an unwinnable 'war' against drug trafficking, is much more of a threat to this country than mini-subs ever could be.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:34:54 AM EDT
[#9]
Quoted:

Sorry, but the waste of taxpayer dollars, along with the concomitant diversion of law enforcement resources (not to mention the loss of billions in potential tax revenues,) used to fight an unwinnable 'war' against drug trafficking, is much more of a threat to this country than mini-subs ever could be.


I agree.

And the creation of this mini-sub infrastructure now paves the way for much worse things than mere cocaine to be smuggled into the U.S. Explosives, terrorists,  WMD's etc.. I could easily see Chavez/Venezuela/Iran using this as a pipeline for terror activities against us.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:38:19 AM EDT
[#10]
Quoted:
I find it hard to believe they're getting that desperate to resort to this. Couldn't they just sneak the drugs through the thousands of trucks that pass through the border? Border security hardly inspects them.


Not so much desperation, but the ability to transport LARGE amounts of drugs in one haul is what makes it appealing.  Smaller shipments via the boarder in trucks takes many trips in smaller quantities and a lot of the tricks for smuggling in vehicles are known (and looked for).

These semi-submersable subs aren't supposed to be cheap to make (from what I've read) and are considered one time use.  However, when you are transporting a TON of drugs (literally) at one time, the drug runners get their money back many times over.  It's worth the expense.  Just wait until they start making fully submersable subs.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:43:17 AM EDT
[#11]
Quoted:
I want one


i believe they ditch the fiberglass subs after  the mission is complete.  it probably isn't worth the troble/risk to save a few bones by reusing a sub.  especially if the sub costs a few thousand dollars and it just delivered a few million dollars worth of coke.  time to do some beach combing
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:52:03 AM EDT
[#12]
they are nearly undetectable with radar, sonar, and infrared systems


Anyone familiar with these systems who can refute this statement?
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:56:11 AM EDT
[#13]
Quoted:
they are nearly undetectable with radar, sonar, and infrared systems


Anyone familiar with these systems who can refute this statement?


I don't know about sonar and infrared, but I'll bet that 7-year old Raymarine radar I have on the offshore boat won't have any problem at all.  It picks up boat wakes, seabirds and bouys,  some screwy  conning tower and exhaust pipes would be easy.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 9:11:30 AM EDT
[#14]
Drug cartels will do anything (and I DO MEAN anything) to get their product into the US; from tunnels and Ultralights to Subs. they have millions to invest in technology and no amount is too much for them to move their poison into our country.

I say pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and just man the border with everythign we have militarily; just turn the US border into a huge superfortress with guns all over, make the Berlin Wall look like an effing speedbump.

Link Posted: 12/11/2009 9:17:25 AM EDT
[#15]
Quoted:
Yup, the war on drugs is almost won.


Yep, in about another 100 years, we'll have it won.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 9:18:45 AM EDT
[#16]
Quoted:
Quoted:
they are nearly undetectable with radar, sonar, and infrared systems


Anyone familiar with these systems who can refute this statement?


I don't know about sonar and infrared, but I'll bet that 7-year old Raymarine radar I have on the offshore boat won't have any problem at all.  It picks up boat wakes, seabirds and bouys,  some screwy  conning tower and exhaust pipes would be easy.




That's bs. It ls a 350 hp diesel engine running, not a trolling motor
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 9:21:37 AM EDT
[#17]
if I was building one of these things,  I'd build it with a decent sized rowboat on top of it. Maybe 14 feet long or so.  I'd fill it with three normal looking dudes and a bunch of fishing poles and a little outboard.  Cooler of beer and some bait.

I'd have them actually fish.  I'd have a radar mounted under the sub body so I could see sonar of the fish etc.  


nobody would look sideways at it.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 6:18:39 PM EDT
[#18]
Would a 5.56 round make it through the fiberglass hull of a narco-sub?
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:28:50 PM EDT
[#19]
Dammit this is important! The Night Crew must be warned!
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:49:28 PM EDT
[#20]



Quoted:


Yup, the war on drugs is almost won.


Any day now, we just have to commit some more money to it...and more guns and helmets for the drug-warriors.



 
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:53:10 PM EDT
[#21]
I fought the market, and the market won.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:53:58 PM EDT
[#22]
Quoted:
Would a 5.56 round make it through the fiberglass hull of a narco-sub?


Hit it above the waterline so I can buy it at auction and repair it

Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:54:57 PM EDT
[#23]



Quoted:


Would a 5.56 round make it through the fiberglass hull of a narco-sub?


Fiberglass?  Like a hot knife through butter.



 
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 8:56:42 PM EDT
[#24]



Quoted:



they are nearly undetectable with radar, sonar, and infrared systems




Anyone familiar with these systems who can refute this statement?


If they have motors, they can be detected, located and ranged.
 
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 9:06:30 PM EDT
[#25]
they should build v2 rockets packed with drugs and launch them into miami....

now theres a distribution model that takes advert into consideration!

Link Posted: 12/11/2009 9:10:48 PM EDT
[#26]


Link Posted: 12/11/2009 9:18:57 PM EDT
[#27]
Let the attack sub guys have some practice by tracking then destroying those guys.  I'll bet a couple of subs in the general area would be all we would need.
Alternatively, they could simply track and report location to the CG, but what fun would that be?
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 9:19:44 PM EDT
[#28]
Quoted:
Quoted:
they are nearly undetectable with radar, sonar, and infrared systems


Anyone familiar with these systems who can refute this statement?


I don't know about sonar and infrared, but I'll bet that 7-year old Raymarine radar I have on the offshore boat won't have any problem at all.  It picks up boat wakes, seabirds and bouys,  some screwy  conning tower and exhaust pipes would be easy.


From how far away?   Distance is a factor and the ocean is huge.

And while these are being used right now to supply coke so that
some night club bitches can powder their nose you can bet your
ass that AQ et.al. are taking notice and talking about if and how they
might use this technology to take the fight back to us.
Link Posted: 12/11/2009 9:24:39 PM EDT
[#29]
Quoted:
Quoted:

Sorry, but the waste of taxpayer dollars, along with the concomitant diversion of law enforcement resources (not to mention the loss of billions in potential tax revenues,) used to fight an unwinnable 'war' against drug trafficking, is much more of a threat to this country than mini-subs ever could be.


I agree.

And the creation of this mini-sub infrastructure now paves the way for much worse things than mere cocaine to be smuggled into the U.S. Explosives, terrorists,  WMD's etc.. I could easily see Chavez/Venezuela/Iran using this as a pipeline for terror activities against us.


Ah. So you are saying that a more effective means of keeping terrorists and WMDs out would have been to not search anything to begin with, to avoid the narcosub fiasco.

Does that still make sense to you?

And now AQ has the money to make submarines in south america suddenly? Guess if you are worried about that you don't consider Iraq or Afghanistan a success in the war on terror.

I hope you guys aren't losing too much sleep over that thought.
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