Submersibles are used to ferry narcotics. Some in U.S. fear the tactic may inspire terrorists.By Chris Kraul
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 6, 2007
CALI, COLOMBIA — It was on a routine patrol that the Colombian coast guard stumbled upon an eerie outpost amid the mangroves: a mini-shipyard where suspected drug traffickers were building submarines.
Perched on a makeshift wooden dry dock late last month were two 55-foot-long fiberglass vessels, one ready for launch, the other about 70% complete. Each was outfitted with a 350-horsepower Cummins diesel engine and enough fuel capacity to reach the coast of Central America or Mexico, hundreds of miles to the north.
The vessels had cargo space that could fit 5 tons of cocaine, a senior officer with the Colombian coast guard's Pacific command said in an interview.
The design featured tubing for air, crude conning towers and cramped bunk space for a crew of four, he added.