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Colombian Navy seizes largest narco-submarine in history

The 30-meter vessel was stuffed with three tons of cocaine

The Colombian Navy has intercepted the largest cartel-manufactured cocaine submarine in history and seized 102 packages of its lucrative cargo. The illegal vessel was as long as some military submarines.

The operation was announced by the country’s navy on Friday. In a statement, the navy said that its ships picked up the submarine on radar in the Pacific Ocean and summoned Colombian Air Force aircraft to track its progress.

Despite inclement weather, a unit of marines managed to interdict the vessel and arrest three people on board. The arrests saved the crew’s lives, the navy said, as the submarine had begun to sink due to a leak in its engine area.


The marines recovered 102 packages of cocaine weighing just over three tons. After several attempts to refloat the sinking sub, it was scuttled to avoid disrupting shipping in the area.

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The submarine itself was 30 meters long and three meters wide, making it the largest narco-submarine seized since the first such device was discovered in 1993. Designed and built by drug cartels, these vessels are technically semi-submersibles, as they travel just below the water’s surface to avoid detection.

The submarine’s dimensions are comparable to those of an Iranian Ghadir-class attack submarine.


Over the past three decades, the Colombian Navy has intercepted a total of 228 narco-subs in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Four have been seized so far this year.

The sub’s three-ton haul is far from the largest single cocaine bust by the Colombian authorities. Police officers raiding a farm near the city of Medellin in 2017 seized 13.4 tons of the narcotic, a haul that has not been matched in the six years since. The largest seizure in US history took place in 2019, when almost 20 tons of cocaine – worth over a billion dollars – was found aboard a cargo ship near Delaware Bay.

May 13, 2023 at 07:53PM


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