By Dilip Kuner • 27 November 2019 • 15:25
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LAW enforcement agencies have managed to re-float a submarine that was carrying drugs off the coast of Spain.
Now that the vessel has been brought to the port of Aldan in Pontevedra, the Guardia Civil, the National Police and the Tax Agency can confirm that it was carrying 152 bales of cocaine weighing three tonnes.
The Euro Weekly News reported that the ‘narcosub’ as it has been dubbed was intercepted off the Galician coast on Sunday (November 24).
Two Ecuadorian men were arrested at the time, while a third managed to escape and is still being sought.
Now police have revealed more details about the operation.
The investigations began when the Centre for Analysis and Maritime Operations in Drug Trafficking (MAOC) alerted the Centre for Intelligence against Terrorism and Organised Crime (CITCO) about a suspicious vessel that was heading to Spain in a cross Atlantic journey.
In this first phase, collaboration with UK police forces was crucial for the subsequent interception of the submarine. Police from Portugal, the United States and Brazil also participated in the operation.
From that moment on, a detection and location operation was deployed using naval aircraft from A Coruña and Pontevedra, and the police presence was reinforced throughout the coastal area.
Bad weather prevented the semi-submersible from delivering the drug to a second vessel and forced its crew to move close to the coast where they abandoned ship and scuttled the sub.
They were spotted by a Guardia Civil patrol using night vision technology and marked the sub’s location.
They made an immediate arrest of a man in a wetsuit, and a few hours later detained a second man.
The investigation remains open to determine both the origin of the drug and the organisation that was to receive the drug in Spain.
Although the use of submarines is very common in America, this is the first time that this drug transport system has been detected in Europe.
The craft is described as handmade from fibreglass and capable of transporting up to five tonnes of cargo.
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