A drug smuggling operation went wrong in the Pacific over the weekend when toxic gases were accidentally released inside a submarine allegedly used by smugglers to transport drugs, killing two suspects and seriously ill two others, according to the Colombian Navy.
Nearly 3,000 pounds of cocaine worth $87 million were found inside the submarine, which was headed for Central America.
Two suspects, who were found aboard the ship “in poor health”, were given medical attention before being taken into the custody of local law enforcement.
The Colombian Navy said the submarine, about 49 feet long, had an accident that caused “the generation of toxic gases from the fuel”.
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Drug trafficking organizations have increasingly turned to makeshift submarines and semi-submersible devices to evade law enforcement.
José Samir Renteria Cuero, a 51-year-old Colombian man who pioneered the use of semi-submersible vessels, was sentenced to 27 years in prison eight years ago.
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The Justice Department said Renteria-Quero started out as a mechanic and built ships specifically for drug trafficking, and then “recruited sailors to participate in maritime cocaine smuggling operations.”
“The Colombian Navy will continue to deploy all its capabilities to counter the scourge of drug trafficking structures that are committing crimes in the Colombian Pacific,” the Colombian Navy said on Sunday.
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