Spanish police seize 30ft narco-submarine designed to stealthily carry two tons of illegal drugs at sea
- The 10ft-wide, semi-submersible craft was found under construction in Malaga
- Spanish police say it would have traveled ‘into the high seas’ to collect narcotics
- It came as part of a drugs bust involving Europol and six nations including the UK
Spanish police say they have captured a homemade narco-submarine designed to stealthily carry more than two tons of illegal cargo.
The 30ft long, semi-submersible craft was discovered while under construction in Malaga on Spain‘s Costal del Sol last month.
It came as part of a wider drugs bust involving Europol and police in Britain, America, Colombia, the Netherlands and Portugal.
Spanish police chief Rafael Perez said the craft would have travelled ‘into the high seas’ if completed and met up with a ‘mothership’ to take the drugs on board.
Seized: This narco-submarine with two engines and three portholes was found under construction in a warehouse in Malaga as part of a wider drugs bust in Spain
Going inside: A police operative climbs into the craft which Spanish police say would have travelled into the ‘high seas’ to collect drugs from a ‘mothership’
Perez said the vessel was ‘like an iceberg’, meaning that most of it would have been underwater and only the tip would have been visible.
‘In practice, nearly all of it goes under water apart from the top, which is the only part of it that would be seen from another ship or a helicopter,’ he said.
The police chief said the vessel had never sailed but would likely have taken drugs on board from a larger ‘mothership’ before making it way back to Spain.
The craft was made of fibreglass and plywood panels, was painted light blue and had three portholes on one side.
It had two 200-horsepower engines operated from the inside of the vessel.
Similar drug-smuggling vessels have in the past been discovered in the Atlantic Ocean, especially off Central and South America.
They sit low in the water to escape detection and are rarely able to fully submerge.
Taken away: The submarine was lifted into a truck and confiscated by Spanish authorities, who say the vessel never actually made it out to sea
Captured: The 10ft wide, semi-submersible craft was discovered while under construction in Malaga on Spain’s Costal del Sol last month
Haul: The discovery of the submarine came as part of a wider drugs bust involving police in six countries (pictured, a stash of cocaine seized from a factory in Barcelona)
The wider police operation against the alleged international smuggling ring netted huge quantities of cocaine, hashish and marijuana in various places in Spain.
These included a cocaine factory in Barcelona where supplies of the drug were seized and other raids in Malaga where the submarine was found.
Spanish authorities said police in the Colombia, the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Portugal were also involved in the operation.
Spain has long been seen as an entry point for illegal cocaine supplies into Europe, along with ports in the Netherlands and Belgium.
In 2018, Spain accounted for 3.7 per cent of the world’s cocaine seizures, the second-largest figure in Europe after Belgium.
Cannabis resin is also shipped from Morocco into Spain before being smuggled to other markets in Europe.