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2 Bodies, 3 Tons of Cocaine Found on Colombian Drug Smuggling Submarine

Published: March 15, 2023
A seized narco-submarine is checked by Colombian Navy soldiers in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca department, Colombia, on March 21, 2021. A similar submarine was found by Colombian authorities over the weekend carrying an estimated 3 tons of cocaine and two deceased individuals along with two survivors after the vessel they were using encountered an undisclosed malfunction. (Image: LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the Columbian navy, a drug smuggling operation went awry over the weekend leaving two men dead and another two injured when the submarine they were using to allegedly smuggle 3,000 pounds of cocaine malfunctioned and released toxic gases into the interior of the submarine. 

The narcotics found on the submarine, which is believed to have been heading for Central America, have a street value estimated at $87 million.  

The two surviving smugglers were found on top of the vessel “in poor health conditions,” and were given medical attention prior to being placed in the custody of local law enforcement. 

The Columbian navy said the 49 foot long submarine suffered an undisclosed malfunction which generated “toxic gases from the fuel,” Fox News reported. 

Video, shared on Twitter, shows a man on a stretcher being rushed towards an ambulance. 

According to a statement by the Columbian navy, the drugs, deceased and survivors were transported to the port city of Tumco on the western coast of Columbia, “where they were presented to the Technical Investigation Crops of the Attorney General’s Office.”

Over the past decade, drug trafficking operations have increasingly used makeshift submarines and semi-submersibles to smuggle drugs undetected.

Eight years ago, Jose Samir Renteria-Cuero, a Colombian man, pioneered the use of the vessels and was subsequently sentenced to 27 years in prison for his involvement.

“The Colombian Navy will continue deploying all its capabilities to counter the scourge of drug trafficking structures that commit crimes in the Colombian Pacific,” the Colombian navy said on Sunday.


$500 million worth of cocaine found floating in the Pacific

This incident is the latest in a string of recent events involving drug smuggling operations in the Pacific Ocean.

Earlier in February this year an estimated $500 million worth of cocaine was discovered floating in the Pacific Ocean near the island nation of New Zealand.

Authorities collected 81 bales of cocaine, weighing 3.2 tonnes floating in the ocean labeled with stickers of four-leaf clovers and Batman logos. The haul was enough narcotics to service the New Zealand market for 30 years, authorities reported. 

During a media conference on the matter, the commissioner of the New Zealand police, Andrew Coster, said, “We believe there was enough cocaine to service the Australian market for about one year and this would be more than New Zealand would use in 30 years,” adding that, “Given the size of the cocaine, it will have likely been destined for the Australian market.”

The cocaine was intercepted by the New Zealand police under a program known as “Operation Hydros,” a joint operation between New Zealand police, customs and the defense force, according to an official statement.