Ecuador Seizes 100-Foot Narco-Submarine

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July 6 2010 3:32 PM

Ecuador Seizes 100-Foot Narco-Submarine

The naval campaign in the War on Drugs just got more technologically advanced, according to the Los Angeles Times, as police captured a nearly-completed smuggling submarine —100 feet long and capable of carrying 10 tons of cargo—in the Ecuadorean mangrove swamps:

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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The Times reported that there have been fewer captures lately of the previous generation of smuggling ships:

The number of voyages has probably dropped, officials said, because of the success in detecting the vessels with a variety of methods, including aircraft that can identify their wakes in the water.

Maybe they aren't catching them because the smugglers are already 65 feet underwater, in other, uncaptured submarines? The United States is promising "an array of countermeasures," as the Drug War blends into the War on Terror:

U.S. military officials have long expressed the fear that narco-submarines could, in addition to carrying illicit drugs, be used to smuggle terrorists to U.S. shores or nearby.

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

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