Friday, May 02, 2008

Running Blow

Our Nation is facing more challenges in protecting our shores. The use of mini submarines by the drug cartels is increasing. From Fox News:

In the last 6 months the U.S. Coast Guard along with the U.S. Navy have found 42 submersibles headed north towards the United States and off the coast of Central America. That is double the number found in the previous 5 years combined. These subs can carry as much as 10 tons of drugs or even weapons and some of the latest models can move 15 knots. This is obviously troubling and makes our war on the cartels that much more difficult. We are currently at Coast Guard Island in Alameda California, where the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sherman is located. The ship has recently returned from operations off of Central America, where finding these subs is proving difficult. They are primitive but effective and built similar to the subs used in the civil war. Usually about 6 inches or so sticks above the water, which is almost impossible to spot. During the day the subs sit, preserving their cover for movement at night.

StrategyPage has more "dope" on these semi-submersibles that run with maybe a foot or less showing above the surface. This makes these craft very hard to detect.

The subs, made of fiberglass, are constructed by the drug gangs, using technicians and materials brought in for the purpose. This costs several hundred thousand dollars per boat. Which is not so bad when you consider that each voyage moves a cargo worth $100 million or more. The craft are from 50-80 feet in length, have a crew of three or four, and carry 3-10 tons of cocaine up the coast to Central America, or farther north.

These are not submarines in the true sense of the word, but "semi-submersibles". The fiberglass boats, powered by a diesel engine, have a small "conning tower" above the water, providing the crew, and engine, with fresh air, and permitting the crew to navigate the boat. A boat of this type is the only practical kind of "submarine" for drug smuggling. A real submarine would be much more difficult to build, although you can buy commercial subs for a million dollars or so. These, however, can carry only a few hundred pounds of cargo, and not for long distances.

It appears that many of these boats are reaching their destinations.

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