American Morning

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July 7th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

DEA finds first true drug submarine

(CNN) – Drug smugglers have used planes, speedboats and even human "mules." Now, DEA agents say they have found in a swamp in Ecuador the first completely submersible drug submarine. Similar vessels found before have only peeked above the surface. This discovery is a sign that traffickers are taking the battle even deeper. Jay Bergman is a regional director for the DEA and oversees all investigations in Columbia and Ecuador. He joined us on Wednesday's American Morning to discuss the implications of the find. Watch Video

A fully functional submarine built for the primary purpose of transporting massive amounts of cocaine has been seized by Ecuadorean authorities with the help of U.S. drug enforcement agents.

A drug-trafficking organization built the sea-worthy vessel that is now being held near the border of Ecuador and Colombia, and one individual has been taken into custody, authorities said. The investigation into the group and the submarine, which was seized Friday, is ongoing.

"This is the first seizure of a clandestinely constructed fully operational submarine built to facilitate trans-oceanic drug trafficking," the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a statement.

The vessel utilized twin screws and was diesel electric-powered, the agency said. It was about 30 meters (98 feet) long and nearly 3 meters (nine feet) high from the deck plates to the ceiling. It has a periscope and an air-conditioning system.

"Traffickers historically employed slow-moving fishing boats, sail boats, pleasure craft go-fasts," said Jay Bergman, Andean regional director for the agency. "The advent of the narco-submarine presents new detection challenges for maritime interdiction forces. The submarine's nautical range, payload capacity and quantum leap in stealth have raised the stakes for the counter-drug forces and the national security community alike."

The submarine was constructed in a "remote jungle environment in an effort to elude law enforcement or military interdiction," the agency said.

Acting on intelligence, Ecuadorean authorities were able to seize the vessel for before its maiden voyage, the statement said.

CNN's Carol Cratty contributed to this report.

Filed under: Crime
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Aboli

    War on Drugs
    War on Terror
    War on Cancer
    War on Poverty
    War on Obesity
    War on Crime
    War on Intolerance
    War on Aids
    War on ... well you get the picture.
    By the way Which one is a declared war ?

    No war has been declared since WW2.

    July 15, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  2. Jeremy

    The responseability of how drugs are used lies utimately with the parent/individual. The legalization, regulation and taxation of drugs is the only exit strategy from this uber expensive and wasteful "war" on drugs. Societies have existed with these drugs for hundreds of years before their regulation, it was only due to the "iterfereance" of the Federal govt. that the issues associated with the "drug war" solidified themselves.

    July 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  3. PHIL

    We have seen that legalizing and control dose not help control perscription /non perscription drugs from being abused. Its not just about pot even though it has its bad side, cocaine etc is extremly dangerous and should never be legal. Just because you are losing a fight ,war you dont stop careing about those its hurting / killing. Legalizing is giving up on those its hurting and killing. We need to start rella are trying to cope ,fit y careing for those who are adicted that includes most certianly includes myself . Its an up hill fight for people that for many reasons use these very dangerous drugs.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  4. ronvan

    Sadly, I totally agree with Dante & Common's comments. EVERYTHING we have tried to stop the drug problem has FAILED. So why not legalize and take control away from the drug lords? Did you see the TV about good old Calif., that showed a guy and his company that had everything you need to grow pot? Even to the extent that he provided a video for instruction, and making 30K + a month! A prime example of what the entire country could do, resulting in more jobs, more taxes, etc.. We are just kidding ourselves, and throwing money down the toilet, thinking that we can control illegal drugs.

    July 8, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  5. common sense

    So long as the black market for drugs supply trafficers with immense and vast profits, they will continue to find a way to supply these drugs. The only true antidote is to legalize, regulate and tax these drugs. We would be able to deny profits to drug lords, use tax proceeds to the greater benefit to society.
    We know this strategy works, because history tells us so. Alcohol bootleggers were not defeated by the 'elliot nesses' of the world, they were ultimately defeated by legalization of alcohol.

    July 7, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  6. Dante

    The war on drugs is now 40 years old.

    Since the beginning of the war on drugs, America has spent over $1 Trillion and arrested/imprisoned 20 million Americans. In addition, America's drug warriors have killed countless innocent citizens, their children, and their dogs.

    Since this 40 year war began, we have more drugs in our country, more drug users, more drug dealers, more types of drugs, more potent drugs, more drug overdose deaths, more drug criminals in jail, more corrupt cops, more corruption in governments all over the world, more violence, more misery, more grief.

    The war on drugs is a failure. Ending prohibition is the answer. Remember Al Capone? This is the exact same thing, just worse.

    And yet our government wants more? How stupid are they? Too stupid to have jobs, that is for sure. Vote any and all drug warriors out of office to end the futile, wasteful war on drugs.

    July 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  7. ChiTownPhilly

    who blew the whistle?! I want to see that thing in action

    July 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm |