The war against drugs is waged underwater | Spain | The USA Print

It is not an isolated event or a test of new technologies. The semi-submersible is already a means of transportation for drug traffickers that will mark a new era in the fight against drugs and will force a change in police strategies and their methodology for the detection by sea of ​​large shipments of cocaine from South America to Europe after the three devices were located. in Galicia since 2006, the last one on Monday, it is confirmed that this method, designed for the camouflage of drugs, and coined for almost three decades by the Colombian cartels to release their production as the world’s leading power in the manufacture of cocaine, catapults the Galician crews as necessary collaborators in a business unleashed by an unstoppable demand.

It is still unknown what story of drug traffickers is behind the artifact located adrift this Monday in the Arosa estuary, the traditional waters of the million-dollar tobacco and drug discharges that began to emerge like the tip of an indestructible iceberg, but there is no doubt that the pieces fit together like those of a classic transport, only that the mother ship was not sailing on water. After an intense day of immersion, the divers could not open the hatch of the ship. They did it this Tuesday, which confirmed the most plausible hypothesis: the boat was empty and without a trace of drugs.

Once out of the water, the name of the semi-submersible could be seen clearly; Poseidon, the god of the seas from Greek mythology. Handmade fiberglass construction and about 22 meters in length, the boat has a neutral color, probably an indicator of its low thermal radiation to be practically undetectable by radar. It is very similar, if not identical, to the narco-submarine seized in 2019 with three tons of cocaine inside, although its interior will be inspected in detail by specialists from the Civil Guard in a shipyard in A Illa de Arousa, where it was deposited in the early hours of the morning. afternoon of this Tuesday, after being towed from the Vilaxoán dock to the island port of Xufre.

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It is hard to believe that a vessel like this, with a maximum of three crew members, can travel some 8,000 kilometers, the distance that separates Galicia from the mangrove swamps of the Colombian district of Tumaco, for example, one of the strategic points of drug trafficking that has the most innovative shipyards. for the construction of these semi-submersibles. There it is controlled from the cultivation of coca leaf, through the production of cocaine hydrochloride and its export. This municipality located in the department of Nariño, bordering Ecuador, is the largest grower of illegal plantations in Colombia, according to the UN, the country that has not managed to drop from first place in the ranking, well ahead of Peru and Bolivia. It is the world’s leading producer of cocaine and the United States, the largest consumer of this drug.

The era of semi-submersibles began in the 1990s, but it was not until 2006 that the first one with 3.5 tons of cocaine was intercepted while sailing off Costa Rica. From the Colombian mangroves that flow into the sea, narco-submarines leave loaded with tons of drugs to Central America or the United States, and now they cross the Atlantic to reach Europe. Their journey has so far been undetectable and it is likely that more than two of these artifacts have reached Galicia. In fact, the narco-submarine anchored three years ago in the Vigo estuary has been followed since it entered Portuguese waters to head for the Galician coast, but surveillance by planes yielded no results. No one expected the mother ship to be a submersible. The battle against the narco was fought underwater.

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Members of the Civil Guard and Customs proceed with the rescue maneuvers to refloat the narco-submarine found in the Pontrevedra estuary, in November 2019.Oscar Corral

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Manufactured in less than three months, their cost can be around a million euros, a tip compared to the volume of business that cocaine moves, which is ten times the original price in the European market. In a tiny cabin, in unsanitary conditions, where food is mixed with fuel bottles, the crew has to overcome all kinds of incidents, putting their lives at stake for around 50,000 euros per trip.

the submersibles made in colombia They come prepared to end the journey in the depths of the sea without leaving a trace, also in the event of being discovered by the police. The crew will open the valves located in the keel of the boat so that the water enters and can go to the bottom. This is how the three crew members of the narco-submarine refloated in the Vigo estuary did it with the drugs inside, in 2019, but the Civil Guard frustrated their plans to go pick it up when the storm subsided that led to the 123 million-euro operation. .

The hypothesis used by the anti-drug teams of the Civil Guard and the police to explain how this ship could have reached the Arousa estuary is that it transported a shipment of cocaine and was later sunk, the usual practice of drug traffickers to hide evidence. The cache was collected by the two identical 12-meter gliders, one with two engines and the other with three, each with 300 horsepower, which appeared stranded on two beaches on the Ribeira coast (A Coruña), on the 22nd of last february. One of them had a cracked protective tire that surrounds the boat. Almost at the same time, another speedboat was sighted in A Costa da Morte when police officers had deployed an operation before a possible discharge on the beaches of Corcubión.

It is the third semi-submersible captured in Galicia since August 2006, when a vessel that could not even navigate was abandoned by drug traffickers off the Cíes Islands. The second, which managed to bring a stash and three crew members, was located 17 years later. The latter was sighted coinciding with several anti-drug operations by the Colombian police in which three of these vessels were captured in full cocaine transfer.

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