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Drug submarine nabbed off Colombia

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Drug submarine nabbed off Colombia

Another drug submarine was seized off the coast of Colombia, and officials said it was one of the largest police had found in recent years.

The ship could carry at least 7 tons of drugs and travel as far north as Central America, according to the BBC report.

Colombian officials said the submersible belonged to the Farc, a Colombian rebel group that has allied with drug traffickers. 

The Latin American nation is the biggest cocaine producer in the world, though it's fast being surpassed by Peru. The Colombian government had worked to crack down on cocaine production by making it harder to procure chemicals, and cutting down on coca production. 

But as hard as authorities work to catch them, traffickers work even harder to evade their nets.

A few years ago, drug traffickers began to abandon their light, fast speedboats, which created huge wakes and made it easy for anti-drug helicopters to stalk them. They started building semi-submersibles. These little crafts are quiet, and leave almost no wake. They can also slip entirely below the water if they're caught.

In 2009, authorities estimated that 70 percent of the cocaine leaving Colombia's Pacific coast was smuggled out in these little boats. Officials have been catching on.

According to the AFP:

Since 1993 authorities have seized 66 semi-submersibles used to smuggle drugs, including seven in 2011, according to the Colombian navy.

But they're getting more sophisticated now. Officials said the vessel, which was 52 feet long, had a complex navigation system and could handle a crew of five. Officials were alerted to the sub by a tip from a "human source," according to this report, just as it was preparing for its maiden voyage.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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