Colombian cocaine smugglers hide beneath the waves

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Les Nessman
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Colombian cocaine smugglers hide beneath the waves

#1

Postby Les Nessman » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:04 pm

Image

Key West (United States) (AFP) - For the US Coast Guard at least, Bigfoot is real -- and is proudly on display here in Key West, on the southernmost tip of the United States.

The hulking monster in question, a sasquatch of the sea, is a 50-foot-long (15-meter) semi-submersible boat built by drug smugglers in the mangroves of Colombia to sneak tons of cocaine toward the United States.

Though it looks like a scaled-up bathtub toy, the grey vessel was built for stealth and marks a milestone in the cat-and-mouse game played by powerful drug cartels and an international force tasked with stopping them.

"At first, there were just grainy photos. No one believed it was real," a US intelligence analyst, who asked that his name not be used, told AFP this week during a tour of the boat, which is now on a military installation.

Reports of "narco-subs" first surfaced in the mid 1990s but it wasn't until 2005 that US authorities started getting specific intel on one of the craft, when the photographs emerged of a strange-looking vessel bobbing low on the water.

Just like purported pictures of wildmen of the woods, those first images were hard to make out, so when US authorities intercepted the boat off the coast of Costa Rica in November 2006, it quickly won its Bigfoot nickname.

Key West (United States) (AFP) - For the US Coast Guard at least, Bigfoot is real -- and is proudly on display here in Key West, on the southernmost tip of the United States.

The hulking monster in question, a sasquatch of the sea, is a 50-foot-long (15-meter) semi-submersible boat built by drug smugglers in the mangroves of Colombia to sneak tons of cocaine toward the United States.

Though it looks like a scaled-up bathtub toy, the grey vessel was built for stealth and marks a milestone in the cat-and-mouse game played by powerful drug cartels and an international force tasked with stopping them.

"At first, there were just grainy photos. No one believed it was real," a US intelligence analyst, who asked that his name not be used, told AFP this week during a tour of the boat, which is now on a military installation.

Reports of "narco-subs" first surfaced in the mid 1990s but it wasn't until 2005 that US authorities started getting specific intel on one of the craft, when the photographs emerged of a strange-looking vessel bobbing low on the water.

Just like purported pictures of wildmen of the woods, those first images were hard to make out, so when US authorities intercepted the boat off the coast of Costa Rica in November 2006, it quickly won its Bigfoot nickname.

"That's the nightmare scenario," he said.

The analyst works for an international taskforce based in Key West, where 15 nations partner with the United States military and Coast Guard to track and intercept drug shipments.

The so-called Joint Interagency Taskforce South (JIATFS) plays a crucial role in breaking up the $88 billion per year cocaine business and stopping other illicit shipments, some of which are used to generate funding for terror groups in countries across the world.

JIATFS tracks drug movements across vast swaths of ocean around Central and South America and successfully intercepts an estimated 25 percent of cocaine shipments.

Countries including France, Britain and the Netherlands are contributing naval vessels to the mission and help seize illicit shipments and arrest crews, some of whom are prosecuted in the United States, while others are sent elsewhere including their home nations in South America.

The penalty for drug running is between seven and 14 years in US federal prison, officials said.

Still, there's no shortage of men willing to spend days at a time on a cramped, dangerous and foul-smelling narco-sub, the analyst said.

The captain of such vessels can earn as much as $75,000 for a single run. Money is plentiful for the cartels -- the boats themselves can cost about $1 million to build, but that is just a tiny fraction of their cargo's value.

Though drug subs are now used routinely, catching additional Bigfoots has proven tricky, as crews scuttle the vessels the moment they are spotted.

"Then they just float around on a dinghy until we pick them up," the analyst said.

Retrieved from Yahoo News

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Raffles
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Re: Colombian cocaine smugglers hide beneath the waves

#2

Postby Raffles » Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:40 pm

A nice boat for Happy Skipper! He can smuggle koeksisters from Durban to Pemba with that :burner: :burner: :burner:

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happyskipper
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Re: Colombian cocaine smugglers hide beneath the waves

#3

Postby happyskipper » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:09 pm

Here they have twisted sisters...... the same, but different!

I wouldn't go in a submarine for all the tea in Boston harbour! Nee dankie - when I die, I want to do it in the sunlight.........


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