by Staff Writers
Bogota (AFP) Jan 8, 2013
The Colombian navy has captured an empty semi-submersible vessel that was adrift in the Pacific ocean and is believed to have been the property of a drug trafficking gang.
The navy said Tuesday that a patrol ship found the vessel 60 nautical miles from the southwestern coast on Saturday.
The submersible was empty but authorities believe it could carry up to five tons of drugs and that it was supposed to be filled with cocaine at the mouth of the Naya river before heading to Central America.
The vessel "could reach the Mexican coast without stopping," Carlos Delgado, Pacific Coast Guard commander, told AFP.
The 18-meter-long (59-foot-long) vessel can be at sea for eight straight days and carry between three and four passengers, he said. The machine costs between $500,000 and $700,000.
Colombia seized eight similar vessels last year, with a total of 82 intercepted in the past 20 years.
It is one of the ways Colombian drug traffickers ship cocaine to Central America and Mexico before it reaches US streets.
21st Century Pirates
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