A drug-smuggling operation in the Pacific Ocean came to a halt over the weekend after toxic gases were accidentally released inside a submarine smugglers were allegedly using to move drugs, according to the Colombian Navy. The suspects died and two others became seriously ill.
Inside the submarine was located approximately 3,000 pounds of cocaine, valued at $87 million, bound for Central America.
The two suspects, who were found “in poor health conditions” aboard the ship, were given medical attention before being transferred to the custody of local law enforcement.
The Colombian Navy said the submarine, which was about 49 feet long, had suffered some sort of accident that caused “the production of toxic gases from the fuel”.
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Drug trafficking organizations are increasingly turning to floating submersibles and semi-submersible equipment to evade law enforcement.
Jose Samir Renteria-Cuero, a 51-year-old Colombian man who pioneered the use of semi-submersible vessels, was sentenced eight years ago to 27 years in prison.
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The Justice Department said Renteria-Cuero started out as a mechanic and built vessels specifically for drug trafficking, then “recruited sailors to participate in maritime cocaine smuggling operations.”
“The Colombian Navy will continue to deploy all its capabilities to combat the scourge of drug trafficking structures that perpetrate crime in the Pacific,” the Colombian Navy said on Sunday.
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