Spain seizes ‘narco sub’ carrying more than 3 tons of cocaine

The drugs are thought to have originated from Colombia but authorities are still investigating, according to a spokesman for the Civil Guard, a military agency with policing powers.

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The vessel was seized Sunday off the coast of the port of Aldan. Two of the three crew members operating the 22 meter-long (72 feet) vessel were arrested.

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Both are Ecuadorian nationals, according to the Civil Guard spokesman, who said that authorities are looking for the third crew member.

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“We are working on getting the submarine out of the water to check everything properly,” he added.

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The submarine was detected as a result of an “international operation” that involved Spanish Customs, Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard.

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Drug traffickers have been caught using submarines to transport cocaine into the United States, including twice this year — once in June and again in September.

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Coast Guard Lt. Commander Stephen Brickey told CNN earlier this year that Central and South American drug cartels have increasingly used semi-submersible submarines to transport drugs into the US.

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The vessels are not believed to be as common in Europe, however. They are expensive to build and must be constructed in remote areas like the jungle to avoid detection.

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Once in the water, they are tough to detect without any prior intelligence or aircraft that spot them from above, Brickey said.

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“They blend in,” he said. “Most of the vessel is underwater, so it’s hard to pick out.”

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