'Drug' submarine found near Spain
Monday, August 14, 2006; Posted: 8:32 a.m. EDT (12:32 GMT)
MADRID, Spain (Reuters) -- Cocaine traffickers may be using submarines to smuggle drugs into Europe, Spanish police said on Monday after finding a 10.5-meter (35-foot) long submarine drifting off the country's northwestern coast.
The empty blue-gray craft was found in an inlet near the Atlantic on Sunday following a telephone tip-off in the Galicia region, a spokesman for the Civil Guard police said.
"The main theory is that it belonged to drug traffickers," the spokesman said.
He said that while no drugs were found on board, police suspected the craft might have been used by smugglers who made a run for it when the authorities arrived on their boat.
Spain's rugged northwestern coast, with difficult to patrol coves and bays, is a major entry point for Colombian cocaine into Europe.
Although the Galicia Civil Guard have never seized a smugglers' submarine before, traffickers have been known to use submersible craft elsewhere to ferry cocaine between shore and mother ship.
In 2000, Colombian police found a 30-meter (100-foot) long submarine with the capacity to carry up to 200 tonnes of cocaine worth billions of dollars still under construction in the Andes mountains near Bogota.