Colombian Navy Seizes 1.8 Tonnes of Cocaine From Semisubmersible

The captured low-profile vessel alongside a Colombian Navy landing craft (Colombian Navy)

Published Sep 2, 2021 4:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Colombian Navy reported Wednesday that it has seized a semi-submersible smuggling vessel carrying 1.8 tonnes of cocaine, enough for 4.5 million doses. 

The agency said that the drug shipment was the property of a splinter group that once belonged to the Marxist militant organization FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). FARC officially laid down arms in a peace deal with the Colombian government in 2016, but dissident factions continue to exert influence in the country's rural southwest and east, producing and trafficking cocaine to support their operations. Officials said that this particular vessel belonged to the Western Block Alfonso Cano splinter group.

The interdiction occurred in an estuary in the Nariño Department, located in Colombia's far southwestern corner. When approached, the semisubmersible's crew abandoned ship and swam to shore, escaping into the jungle. On boarding and inspection, a team of Colombian marines found 90 sacks of one-kilo bricks.

The suspicious cargo was offloaded and delivered to the Tumaco Coast Guard Station for testing, and it was confirmed to be cocaine. The total haul came to about 1,870 kilos, with an estimated wholesale value of $60 million. 

The bust is the latest in a string of successes for the Colombian Navy in the fight against FARC smugglers. Over the span of the past month, the service has seized a total of 5.8 tonnes of cocaine belonging to the Alfonso Cano group, with a total value of more than $200 million. By capturing smugglers in the riverine waters of Colombia's coastal jungle, the service reduces the flow of drug-laden vessels headed for the U.S. Coast Guard-led antitrafficking effort in the Eastern Pacific.