Officials Seize Submarine With Three Tons of Cocaine

November 24, 2006

There were no Beatles, just three metric tons of cocaine discovered in a rustic, gray submarine found floating along slowly in waters near the Isla del Coco National Park off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast.

With round portholes and plastic tubes for breathing, the 15-meter, homemade craft embarked from port of San Buenaventura, in Colombia, putting along at approximately 12 kilometers an hour, and capable of submerging two meters under water.

Officials were alerted to the submarines presence when they saw three tubes skimming along the ocean surface, the Associated Press reported. The ship was seized by the Costa Rican Coast Guard and Drug Control Police, working together with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Coast Guard. Colombian police also aided the effort, a statement from the Public Security Ministry said.

Authorities believe the submarine was passing through Costa Rican waters on its way to the United States.

Two Colombians, one Guatemalan and one Sri Lankan aboard the vessel were arrested and taken to the United States, where they face charges of drug trafficking.

The cocaine was also taken to the United States, while the submarine was transported to the Coast Guard station in the Pacific port city of Puntarenas for later study by U.S. authorities.

This seizure marks the first time in Costa Rican history that a submarine has been captured with drugs, according to the Public Security Ministry.

With this bust, Costa Rican and U.S. authorities have seized nearly 18 metric tons of cocaine this year, mostly from fishing boats in recent months.

 

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