The Colombian Navy have raided a clandestine shipyard with two narco submarines and other equipment for shipping tonnes of drugs to Central and North America to Spain.
In recent years narco gangs have used submarines to avoid detection as they cross the Atlantic to offload their cargo off the Northwestern Spanish coast.
Colonel Jaime Orlando Zambrano Chavarro, commander of the Marine Infantry Brigade No.4 based in Tumaco in the Colombian department of Narino, said in a statement that “two semi-submersibles were found in an illegal shipyard off the coast”.
The Colombian Navy also said that the shipyard was run by the ‘Ivan Rios’ dissident group of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC) guerrilla group, adding that the bust cost the group around USD 2 million.
Colonel Zambrano Chavarro said in the statement: “In the course of a river operation carried out by the Colombian Navy in cooperation with the National Army in a rural area of Tumaco in Narino, the location and destruction of an illegal infrastructure including a makeshift shipyard was achieved, where two semi-submersible naval devices were found, used to traffic approximately eight tons of narcotic substances to Central America.
“Units of the Marine Infantry Brigade No.4, with the support of troops from the Anti-Narcotics Battalion No.4, deployed the military operation to search and control the territory around San Jacinto Village, located at the mouth of the Mira River where they located the illegal shipyard of 380 square metres, used by the ‘Ivan Rios’ dissident group of FARC under the criminal command of alias ‘Uriel’.”
The Navy said traffickers built the two 25-metre-long submarines on the Colombian-Ecuadorian border, and that they have a “capacity to transport up to four tons of narcotics each”.
The statement said: “The first one was 80 percent completed and the second one was completely finished and ready to transport illicit drugs, which would be destined for drug trafficking cartels in Mexico.
“A boat, communication equipment, and different tools used for the manufacture of these illegal means of maritime transport were also seized at the site. During the operation there were no arrests, the material was destroyed according to established protocols.
“With this finding, the Colombian Navy manages to weaken the financial and logistical structures of the organisations at the service of drug trafficking that commit crimes in the Pacific of Narino.”