A low-riding vessel carrying 1.8 tons of cocaine bound for Central America was intercepted by the Colombian Navy Sunday in the Pacific Ocean off that country’s coast.

The vessel was navigating Colombia’ ocean waters with over 1.8 tons of cocaine inside. (Photo: Ministerio de Defensa Nacional de Colombia/XLicense)The vessel, called a semi-submersible low-profile vessel (LPV) or narco submarine, is designed to sit very low in the water, making it harder to detect. According to H. I. Sutton, the author of “Narco Submarines: Covert Shores,” such vessels have been built for years in secret workshops in the Colombian jungle for use by drug smugglers.

Coast Guard units detected the vessel and discovered 94 packages with a net weight of 1,886 kilograms of apparent cocaine inside. The vessel was crewed by two Ecuadorians and a Colombian national.

According to the Navy’s report, the boat sank due to difficult weather conditions at the site.

The packages and crew were transferred to the southwestern port city of Tumaco, near the border with Ecuador. At the port, samples were taken and the authorities confirmed the cargo was in fact cocaine hydrochloride.

The crew members, aged 26, 37, and 63, were handed over to the authorities for prosecution.

“The Colombian Navy will continue to deploy all its operational capabilities to counteract the criminal actions of drug trafficking organizations that commit crimes in the Pacific region of Nariño, ratifying its commitment to the protection of the national territory and the welfare of all Colombians,” the Navy said in a statement.

The authorities said the amount of cocaine seized equaled more than 1.2 million doses.

The waters off Colombia’s western shore are popular with drug smugglers. On Friday, over 480 kilograms of cocaine, were seized; on Wednesday of last week, over 76 tons of marijuana and more than 800 grams of explosive material were seized.

Also, In May of this year, a 30-meter vessel, the largest narco-submarine captured in three decades, was intercepted with more than 3 tons of cocaine.

Sean Hocking

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