- The submarine could carry 2.2 tons of cargo, or $500 million of cocaine.
- Police found the plywood submersible before it launched on its maiden voyage.
Worldwide, the War on Drugs has done more harm than good. It’s caused mass incarceration for substance charges, driven up the price of illegal substances, and caused violence and conflict worldwide. And while I wouldn’t call this story a “bright side” of illicit drugs, it does cast drug-running activities in a zany what-will-they-do-next light.
Who knew running drugs involved arts & crafts?
Photo by Darren Halstead on Unsplash
Spanish police discovered drug smugglers building a narco-submersible in Malaga on the southern coast. It’s massive, over 30-feet long and 10-feet wide, and capable of moving 2.2 tons of cargo at a time. If that cargo is cocaine, they’d be looking at a street value of $500 million.
The vessel never achieved its maiden voyage. A civilian-constructed giant submarine attracts a fair amount of attention, even in the carefree Costa del Sol. The submersible is plywood, coated with fiberglass, attached to a structural frame. It’s – blocky – imagine a child’s drawing of a submarine more than an actual submarine.
It has three portholes, all on one side, so the smugglers can see where they’re going. They equipped it with two 200-horsepower engines that a “crew” would operate from inside the vessel.
The submarine doesn’t actually go underwater (at least not on purpose). It has an “iceberg construction” where the bulk of the cargo room is beneath the surface of the water, with just enough of the vessel visible for the mother-ship to see its approach.
The bottom of the Spanish coast must be littered with plywood submarines.
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
It’s also not the first narco-submersible authorities have ever discovered. They’re a popular solution in Central and South America for people engaging in illegal activities to move cargo to and from land to a large ship anchored out at sea. The submersible is only visible from a boat or a helicopter, not from shore.
Because they use plywood to make them and, one would have to guess, not a lot of expertise, you have to wonder how many people met their tragic end because of a hull breach. Sinking just offshore, surrounded by hundreds of millions of dollars worth of drugs.
The tide’s bound to turn on the War on Drugs any minute.
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay
Nabbing a narco-submersible or a few dozen people associated with drug trafficking does nothing to stop the widespread problem. After all, the war on drugs started in 1971. Fifty years later, the federal government hasn’t achieved any measurable progress, except for sky-high incarceration rates in the US.
This particular Scooby-Doo operation was part of a global smuggling ring that involves cocaine, marijuana, and hashish moving between Portugal, the Netherlands, the UK, and the United States.