Earlier this month, officials from the Colombian Navy and US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) raided a boatyard in the Cucurrupí River basin on Colombia’s western coast and found a rare high-capacity submarine for smuggling drugs.
According to a news release by the Colombian Navy, the vessel had a cargo capacity of 6 tons. The raid was just one of several across the country resulting in the arrests of 11 accused drug smugglers.
#Cauca | Un semi sumergible eléctrico con valor de fabricación de 6 mil millones de pesos, capacidad para transportar seis (6) toneladas de droga fue decomisada en un operativo de las autoridades en el municipio de Timbiquí. pic.twitter.com/4UGVm7CbyT— Alertapopayan (@alertapopayan) November 8, 2020
Compared to the typical seagoing smuggling vessels found by police, this one had nearly four times the carrying capacity and had batteries enabling it to truly submerge instead of simply riding very low on the water. According to USNI News, its batteries would have enabled the submarine to run underwater for as long as 12 hours, but it still would have been towed for most of the sea journey from Colombia to the United States.
While much larger than the typical drug-smuggling semi-submersible, which can carry 1.6 tons of cargo on average, this sub was not the largest ever found, either. In August, Colombian authorities reported they had discovered a mega-submersible capable of carrying 8 tons of cargo.
Another electric submarine was found in the same river in 2017 that could have carried four people and had a cargo capacity of 4 tons.