The Truth About Escobar’s ‘Submarine Narco’

Lost submersibles of the Colombian that some former CIA agents would have found and we find that it is not a legend: the Museums where the Army accumulates the cocaine submarines intercepted.

The last one is a green steel submersible that sails three meters underwater, costs two million and can load three tons of cocaine to the US. Escobar never had anything like it.

The strange vessel, 11 meters long, green in color and with a rickety cabin, is the best narco-submarine, and by far, that the Colombian Army has never managed to seize. Navigate with electric propulsion. And despite its appearance as a toy ship, in its bowels it has the capacity to transport, sailing three meters below the surface, up to three tons of coca to the coast of some Central American nation or the US. It was found in the middle of the jungle, in a stream near a tributary of the San Juan River, on the Pacific coast, when it was ready to undertake its first journey.

It is the last generation of a squadron, made in Colombia that has been carrying drugs for the quarter of a century through the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The search for the truth of Pablo Escobar’s narco-submarine (that former CIA agents claimed days ago to have found now in an uncertain place on the Colombian coast) leads the reporter from Chronicle to the reality of the submersibles of the drug. And the truth is that the artifact found in the jungle is not by far the submarine that Capo Escobar dreamed of buying from the Soviets, with the help of Fidel Castro, to take his positions to the US and never could.

In the international black market they simply did not sell them. Neither then nor today. That is why the current mafia prefers to make them with their own means. “It is not a conventional submarine, made for war, but it is a qualitative leap from the semi-submersible because it is naval steel, submerges six feet and sails with electric motors.

We can not see them with airplanes and it is difficult to detect them with radars: a small dot may appear but it is the same as a wave and it is confused from the Colombian Navy explains to Chronicle. The blow to the Clan of the Gulf poster and the ELN (National Liberation Army), presumed owners of the green vessel, that they cost the equivalent of two million euros Item. Also that they discovered their new transportation model and that is why the Colombian Navy has already in place specific strategies to tackle them.

Despite its harmless and even sloppy appearance, it is not easy to build a naval steel narco-submarine. Beginning with the need to mobilize thirty specialists from different areas to the depths of the variegated jungles of western Colombia. They always look for hidden places, close to bodies of water, where they can work quietly, without fear of being surprised by the Armed Forces, since they can take three months to complete the work of 11 meters of length, three and a half of sleeve and meter and a half of height, they count on 100 batteries to feed the electric motor that operates when they are in immersion.

The three crew members who live crammed in the rickety cabin have a range of about 10 hours at four knots of speed, which means that when it comes to the surface to recharge the batteries with a diesel engine, it has already traveled forty thousands. That is, it is on the high seas, far from.

Narco-submarine intervened by the Armed Forces of Colombia

The cartel that pays for it orders it to be tailored to their needs, but the average load varies between two and three tons. Although they are more expensive than semi-submersibles, the profitability is still fabulous. If they crown and put two tons of cocaine in North America, the profit can reach 70 million dollars. With such a wide margin, it is understandable that they are only one-way boats. It does not pay to venture to bring them back. Once the work is finished, they get rid of them. A qualitative leap “Those who made this last submarine know about submarines. The baquiano did not make it in an artisanal way; there is naval architecture, expert knowledge. It is not a toy engine, “adds the source.

Researchers are undoubtedly involved in the construction of crews that belonged to the Colombian Navy or one from abroad, from a country that has submarines. Colombia has four. «They are very prepared people, for any Naval Force they are important. Whether you are an officer or a non-commissioned officer, you have invested a lot in your education so that you have a great knowledge of the subject. Some have been sold for money. They also use naval welders with experience because anyone does not work, “says an expert. The complete work is not done by a single organization. Some recruit technicians, others are responsible for taking the construction materials to the jungle, there are those in charge of providing the fuel, there are those who hide the drug until the moment of handing it over to whoever loads it, the owners of the routes, to name just a few links of the chain. And they always deploy a fleet of ringers to detect the presence of the public force.

Once finished, they are taken by river to a hiding place near the sea, with enough draft to load the cocaine before sailing. It is a critical moment in which they can detect you .Although they represent an advance, in the drug trafficking universe, the Mafia continues to resort to semi-submersibles, a form of transport that the Navy has been following for a quarter of a century and manages to seize it relatively frequently. Of similar length to the submarine reviewed and a similar load capacity, they are cheaper and simple to manufacture and do not require so many specialists. It is an artisan work, with empirical designers and common welders. If Pablo Escobar had known them, he would have expanded his business to infinity since acquiring one on the black market was impossible. Maybe that’s why he thought Fidel Castro would help him with the Soviets, but he never even raised it. It was in the same year of his death, in 1992, that the Colombian Navy found the first prototype, on the island of Providencia, in the Caribbean. They imitated the appearance of a war submarine but realized that they still did not have the necessary technology to take them to sea.

When they changed the design, the idea curdled. “They chose to use the hull of a boat that they cover with fiberglass, the material that they prefer», explains an expert. “He has to compartmentalize them very well because the narcotic gases are toxic and they are navigations of seven, eight days. It is not that the three crew members who carry can end up drugged, is that they die intoxicated with those amounts. They are dangerous artifacts, the one that embarks on that is crazy, is sailing to the brink of death.

Besides being crazy, he must be willing to endure subhuman conditions. There is no space to move, no bathroom or bunk beds, life on board takes place in a minimal space, claustrophobic. In the Pacific it is common for what a few miles offshore and cargo in Ecuador. There they set sail loaded, they open up to Galápagos and they go up to Central America. Mission Impossible Before 2009, trapping them to imprison them was an impossible mission. As soon as the Navy located a semi-submersible, the crew broke the hull, sank the boat and they were floating. When the sailors reached them, the drug traffickers had transformed themselves into shipwrecked people, whom they had to rescue with great care. Since that year, the law has been modified so that anyone who has anything to do with any submersible or semi-submersible, from its manufacturing process to its piloting, can receive a minimum sentence of seven years in prison.

Two semi-submersibles used for cocaine trafficking intercepted by Colombia

But the Mafia is always one step ahead, inventing something new to avoid the relentless pursuit by land, sea and air to the security forces. “As we already have aluminum boats with a power of 750 horses and 40 knots of speed, equal or superior to the go-fast boats of the drug traffickers, now they use five boats with less engine and less drug. They load two and three go clean and when we detect them in the sea, they disperse. Which one do we follow? “, Jokes a military expert. And not to mention the so-called parasites, tubes filled with about 80 kilos of cocaine that narco-divers engage merchant ships without their knowledge or fishing with those they have agreements with. They put a buoy with a locator.

If the Armada intercepts the latter, they release the parasites and soon three or four nautical miles away. Once the military operation is concluded without finding anything, the sono-buoy sends the signal with such accuracy that it has no more than one meter error. “To hide drugs and counteract our actions, drug traffickers have to be imaginative,” says Captain Carlos Arturo Rodríguez, commander of the Coast Guard of the Caribbean, an officer who has been pursuing drug trafficking in seas and rivers for several decades. “We know that we are waging a long and complex war, but we will never lower our guard.”

Two open-air museums for 13 ships

The Navy created two museums in the seas that bathe Colombia, to exhibit the submersibles and semi-submersibles taken from the mafia. Bahía Málaga, in the most important Naval Base on the Pacific, has nine, including the green submarine, its most recent incorporation.

Of the four from Cartagena de Indias, two never sailed. The oldest one dates from 1994. With an autonomy of 300 nautical miles, diesel engine and 10 knots of speed, they intended to reach the United States. Then they came up with a kind of cylinder with a torpedo-type prow, which did not work either. They only succeeded when they designed the semi-submersibles with the fiberglass hull, diesel engine, an exhaust pipe on the surface and a tiny cockpit for the pilot. It is unknown the number of ‘narco-trips’ that have crowned and the number of ships manufactured.

Also in Spain they wanted to imitate the Colombians. In 2006 the Spanish police spotted a semi-submersible adrift, in the vicinity of the Cies Islands, Vigo. The objective was to unload drugs in the high seas. They did not go beyond the prototype.


Source: El Mundo