Because of huge profits generated by drug trafficking, traffickers have financial means to invest in advanced technology, such as submersibles. On March 12th 2021, the Spanish Police seized the first “Narco-Submarine” made in Europe.
For several years, Colombian cartels used “Narco-submarine” as a common way to transport drugs out of their country.
These submarines have different design,discretion and cargo capacities: sometimes they are just small boats right above the surface, and so escape to naval radars, but they also can be more elaborate with watertight compartments and ballast. Traffickers can use them to transport drug, but also to smuggle a wide range of goods.
On August 14th 2006, a “Narco-submarine” was found drifting empty off near Vigo, Galicia. This is the first time that this kind of boat was seen in Europe, presuming it was used to offload drugs from an offshore vessel to the coast.
On November 23th 2019, an international police operation off the coast of Galicia revealed the existence of a cocaine transport network. During the operation, a homemade semi-submersible from Latin America was found. It was loaded with 3 tons of cocaine.
On March 12th 2021, a Spanish Police operation, coordinated by Europol, led to the seizure of a “Narco-submarine” made in Europa. The boat was meant to be used for drug trafficking in the coastal city of Malaga but was barely finished and not yet launched. According to the investigators, the boat should join a mother ship offshore to transfer drug cargo. Furthermore, the Spanish Police arrested 52 people and found a sophisticated laboratory able to produce 750 kg of drugs per month.
This operation show an evolution of the drug market in Europe and a dramatically growth of demand.