Drug Traffickers Go Under Water

South American drug traffickers have upped the ante once again in their efforts to sneak their wares, in particular cocaine, into the United States, Gen. Douglas Fraser, US Southern Command boss, told attendees at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Wednesday. For some time, the illicit traffickers have been using semi-submersible watercraft to move drugs out of South America along the Pacific Coast into Central America where the smuggling routes continue over land into the United States. Now, fully submersible craft have entered the scene, both along the Pacific coast of Central and South America, and—in a recent development—in the Caribbean. Some of these fully submersibles are “pretty sophisticated,” said Fraser. One that authorities seized had electric motors on it and was capable of operating under water—as opposed to just submerging for a time to avoid detection along its path. Such higher end craft could cost upward of $4 million a copy. But given that one load of cocaine can yield the drug traffickers some $70 million in the United States, he said, they apparently are willing to make the investment.