A semi-submersible craft carrying $87m worth of cocaine, along with two dead bodies and two surviving crew members, was intercepted off the coast of Columbia on Sunday.
“Military personnel found two subjects in poor health conditions,” the Colombian Navy wrote in a statement. “Apparently there was an accident inside the semi-submersible vessel due to the generation of toxic gases from fuel. The two men were treated and transported to a ship in the area where they were given medical attention to save their lives.”
According to Colombian officials, the 2,643 kilograms of cocaine inside the sub was bound for Central America.
“With this operational deployment that had foreign support, more than $87m dollars were prevented from entering the financial structures of drug trafficking organizations that commit crimes in the Colombian Pacific and more than six million doses from circulating in the international illegal market,” the Navy added in its statement. “The Colombian Navy will continue deploying all its capabilities to counter the scourge of drug trafficking structures that commit crimes in the Colombian Pacific.”
Photos and videos from the Navy of the operation show officials pulling alongside a sleek, dagger-shaped sub, and loading off black bundles of shrink-wrapped cocaine, as other first responders carry a man on a stretcher.
On the same day as the submarine was discovered, Colombian officials also encountered three semi-subs believed to belong to a splinter faction of the FARC, a guerilla group that has long fought with the Colombian government, Listin Diario reports.
In 2016, the Colombian government signed a peace deal with the FARC, after half a century of conflict that left over 200,000 dead, but multiple groups refused to put down their arms and continued militant and alleged drug activity, including the Segunda Marquetalia, which is accused of operating three of the submarines discovered over the weekend. The US has designed the group a terrorist organization.
Such illicit craft are often designed in remote areas of the Colombian jungle, and are outfitted with sophisticated designs to avoid radar detection, according to the Daily Mail.