Narco Submarine

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A narco submarine (also called narco sub, drug sub and Bigfoot submarine) is a type of custom-made ocean-going self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel built by drug traffickers to smuggle drugs. They are especially known to be used by Colombian drug cartel members to export cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, which is often then transported overland to the United States. During the 1980s fast, powerful go-fast boats became the drug-smuggling vessel of choice in many parts of the world. These boats can be detected by radar; as radar coverage improved, Colombian drug cartels started using less easily detected semi-submersibles from the 1990s. The first time the U.S. Coast Guard found one, authorities dubbed it Bigfoot because they had heard rumors that such things existed, but none had actually been seen. It was late 2006 when a Bigfoot was seized 145 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Costa Rica carrying several tons of cocaine. In 2006 US officials say they detected three; in 2008 they were spotting an average of ten per month, but only one out of ten was seized, as their crews scuttle them upon interception and they sink within a minute or so. Until 2008, in accordance with maritime law, the crew was rescued and, if there was no physical evidence of wrongdoing, released without criminal charges. To address this legal loophole, the US Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act was enacted in September 2008, making it a "felony for those who knowingly or intentionally operate or embark in a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) that is without nationality and that is or has navigated in international waters, with the intent to evade detection." The penalty is a prison term of up to 20 years in the U.S. Little is known about who is behind the semi-submersibles. They seem to be 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, allowing Mexican gangs to oust Colombians from much of the lucrative distribution business in US 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. Strictly speaking they are semi-submersibles since they cannot dive; most of the craft is submerged with little more than the cockpit and the exhaust gas pipes above the water. In other words, a narco sub is a surface vessel with a very low freeboard or low profile. Narco submarines are designed specifically to be nearly undetectable visually or by radar, sonar and infrared systems. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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