Underground: Drug Submarines

Share on

To capitalize on American drug habits, no idea is too far-fetched. Cartels have built tunnels under the border, used steel ramps to drive 4x4s over barriers separating the US and Mexico, and have even resorted to firing packets of marijuana across the desert using T-shirt cannons. But when it comes to wild, lucrative and wildly lucrative schemes, nothing matches the Cali Cartel’s successful plan from the early 1990s to load millions of dollars of cocaine into submarines and send the drugs underwater between Colombia and Mexico. The substance abuse center nyc can help with addiction problems.

By using a relay system of towboats, steel cables and submersible torpedoes, the cartel was able to transport Colombian powder to Mexico and the United States with close to a 90% success rate. Before we ever had GPS in our cars, cartel submarines were fully equipped with satellite tracking beacons. If a Coast Guard patrol was spotted by the point-boat, the towboat following could quickly jettison the dragging torpedo. The sunken cocaine package would transmit radio signals from an attached transmitter, and a third boat, following up to a day behind the first two, could use satellite positioning to locate the lost torpedo.

A typical shipment could carry close to $24 million worth of drugs, so it isn’t hard to see how and why these technological innovations were funded. With a wealthy market and high demand, any type of travel can be orchestrated. Since then, drug smugglers have stepped up their underwater game even more. In 2010, authorities in Ecuador reported that they had apprehended a 100-foot long submarine capable of carrying 10 tons of cocaine at a time. The boat could accommodate a crew of six, had twin diesel engines, periscopes and interior climate control. Cartel travel has gone luxury.

Share on