HomeNewsBriefColombia Seizes One of ‘Rastrojos’ Drug Sub Fleet
BRIEF

Colombia Seizes One of ‘Rastrojos’ Drug Sub Fleet

COLOMBIA / 19 JUL 2012 BY TRACEY KNOTT EN

The Colombian Navy has found a semi-submersible vessel used to traffic drugs on the Pacific coast, thought to belong to the Rastrojos drug gang, in the second such finding this year.

On Sunday, the Colombian Navy, with the help of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Colombian Attorney General’s Office, discovered a semi-submersible·vessel believed to be used in the drug trade. It was found in a jungle river near the town of Mosquera in the western department of Nariño, according to a navy announcement.

The craft is reported to be 20 meters long and capable of carrying up to four people and 8 tons of cocaine. Its two engines would allow it to travel easily to the Central American coast, according to estimates provided to El Espectador.

Vice Admiral Rodolfo Amaya stated that the semi-submersible was used by the Rastrojos gang. The vessel has an estimated worth of $1 million.

InSight Crime Analysis

Seventy-seven drug trafficking vessels that were capable of traveling at least partly submerged beneath the surface of the ocean have been found in the region in the past decade — 60 of those within Colombian waters, El Mundo reported. According to the Navy, only two of the devices were fully submersible.

In February 2011, Colombian authorities seized their first fully submersible vessel, which constituted “a huge technological leap” for traffickers, according to Admiral Hernando Willis of Colombia’s Pacific Joint Command.

The vessel is the second semi-submersible to be seized this year by Colombian police. Most such “narco-subs” lack the technology to travel completely underwater, but still allow drug traffickers to transport their goods to countries like Costa Rica and Guatemala without detection. The Rastrojos, one of the most powerful transnational crime syndicates in Colombia, is believed to have a fleet of drug submarines at its disposal.

The recent discovery is further evidence of narcotraffickers’ growing reliance on sophisticated technology to outmaneuver authorities. As drug enforcement agencies increasingly target routes used by traffickers, smugglers must find less conspicuous ways to transport their goods. Colombian drug trafficking organizations like the Rastrojos have long used coastal routes to smuggle drugs up to Central America and Mexico, from where they are shipped to the United States.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 10 AUG 2011

Colombian authorities say 328 child soldiers have demobilized from illegal armed groups so far this year. …

AUC / 9 OCT 2013

Authorities in Colombia have captured the step-sister of notorious fallen paramilitary warlords the Castaños, who is a key backer of…

COLOMBIA / 19 JUL 2012

An outsider criminal group from the Caribbean coast, far more ruthless, wealthy, and disciplined than Medellin’s street gangs, is poised…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…