Spanish police discovered a submarine containing ‘tons’ of cocaine off the northwestern coast of Spain on Sunday, in the first such interception of its kind to be made in the country.
“It is very likely that the device contains several tons (of cocaine) but this is only an estimate,” said a source close to the investigation while Spanish daily El País reports a consignment of more than three tons.
Two people were arrested during the operation in Galicia, near the Portuguese border, while a third managed to escape, said a spokesman for the Spanish police. It is thought that the crew, are reportedly from Ecuador, sank the submarine near the shore when they realised they had been detected by the authorities. The Customs Surveillance Services are working alongside the National Police, the Civil Guard and Maritime Rescue Services to raise vessel, which remains semi-submerged in the waters of a river estuary.
Investigators are now trying to determine whether the submarine, which came from South America, was loaded with the drugs to begin with or whether they were brought onto the vessel at sea. The Galician coastline, with its numerous rocky inlets, has long served as an entry point into Spain for smuggled drugs; and while police suspected that traffickers have been using submersible vessels for this purpose, Sunday’s find marks the first time that such an interception has been made.
The discovery of the ‘narco-sub’ highlights the increasingly industrious methods being employed by Spanish traffickers to evade police detection. Six people were arrested last week in the northeastern region of Aragon after police discovered a massive cannabis plantation hidden so deep in a pine forest that it could only be reached by an off-road vehicle, followed by a thirty-minute trek on foot. Some 16, 000 plants, yielding 3.5 tons of cannabis were seized in the plantation, which had its own irrigation system, tent encampment, stone oven and electricity generation equipment to allow for 24-hour monitoring.