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(Wired)   Old and busted: Smuggling drugs by plane. New hotness (but still busted): Drug smuggling submarines   (blog.wired.com) divider line 67
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10075 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Jan 2009 at 7:02 AM (6 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2009-01-22 06:25:46 AM  
This is great. Previously we had to pay for simulation to train Navy sonar crews-now the Navy can practice anti-submarine warfare without paying for targets. And if they are stealthy, so much the better.
 
2009-01-22 07:08:09 AM  
Not really new considering I first heard about this in the late 80's.
 
2009-01-22 07:10:17 AM  
Did sthomebody sthay they were sthmuggling crack???
upload.wikimedia.org

Ooooooh I sure hope it'sth man crack
 
2009-01-22 07:12:59 AM  
The funny thing was that for years they would scuttle the sub and lose the evidence, then get "rescued" by the Coast Guard vessel that stopped them.
 
2009-01-22 07:13:04 AM  
didn't escobar have one of these things? not exactly new, but a great concept.
 
2009-01-22 07:16:59 AM  
Watercraft that dosen't submerge can not be called a submarine.
 
2009-01-22 07:18:25 AM  
The preferred nautical term for such vessels is hoagies.
 
2009-01-22 07:18:59 AM  
Yeah, not new. Drug smugglers here in Brazil have been using subs to move their product across South America for years.

On a different note, a drug dealer in Rio de Janeiro was recently discovered to be raising alligators in a sewer close to his ghetto. He would dispose of people (dead and alive) in the sewer and the alligators would clean up pretty well after him. Now that's new and scary!
 
2009-01-22 07:21:15 AM  
www.msghelp.net
 
2009-01-22 07:26:28 AM  
Was the submarine shaped like a turtle?
 
2009-01-22 07:29:46 AM  
media.monstersandcritics.com

20,000 kilos under the sea
 
2009-01-22 07:30:43 AM  
FTA: Congress reacted last year by passing the Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act. Despite the name, the law, signed in October, does not require authorities to seize a cargo of cocaine or other illicit drugs to send a crew to the slammer. Instead, it targets anyone intending to use the radar-ducking vessels to slip into U.S. waters undetected. That broad reach is necessary, proponents say, because drug smugglers often scuttle the subs at the first sign of trouble, leaving authorities without any evidence.

Okay, I know it's hard to fight these criminals, but I don't like the sound of someone being convicted without evidence.
It's just too open to misuse.
 
2009-01-22 07:33:23 AM  
How is this new? Subby needs to read the news a little more often. What I love is the group that apparently made their own sub that was able to travel from South America all the way to the coast of Italy. I wouldn't trust my boat much less my own sub for that duration on the open seas.
 
2009-01-22 07:35:27 AM  
www.msghelp.net

www.msghelp.net

www.msghelp.net
 
2009-01-22 07:40:45 AM  
img419.imageshack.us

Our cocaine! Where is it? Answer that one, Herr Goering! The Colombians have plenty of it! Talking big is all he's good for, that fat slob.

/Das Toot
 
2009-01-22 07:43:02 AM  
Back when Michael Jackson was rich, he went looking to buy animals for his Neverland Ranch. Exotic animal salespeople flooded him with offers. One guy told Michael "I have a Wilderbeast the likes no one has ever seen. I will sell it to you."
Michael said "Is it young? I want young animals so they can live the good life on my Neverland Ranch."
The salesman said "Oh, it's very young. And a wilderbeast like this will live 20 years."
Michael asked to see this creature. He was very interested in adding a wilderbeast to his zoo. But the salesman underestimated Michael. He thought that the pop star knew nothing about exotic creature.

Because Michael took one look at the young wilderbeast and said "Are you trying to sell me old gnus?"
 
2009-01-22 07:43:14 AM  
Ric Romero does drug smuggling articles now?
 
2009-01-22 07:49:44 AM  
mr_a: This is great. Previously we had to pay for simulation to train Navy sonar crews-now the Navy can practice anti-submarine warfare without paying for targets. And if they are stealthy, so much the better.

I would like to take this one step further. We never get to torpedo anything for real with our subs anymore. Awesome training.
 
2009-01-22 07:51:26 AM  
DeRosso: FTA: Congress reacted last year by passing the Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act. Despite the name, the law, signed in October, does not require authorities to seize a cargo of cocaine or other illicit drugs to send a crew to the slammer. Instead, it targets anyone intending to use the radar-ducking vessels to slip into U.S. waters undetected. That broad reach is necessary, proponents say, because drug smugglers often scuttle the subs at the first sign of trouble, leaving authorities without any evidence.

Okay, I know it's hard to fight these criminals, but I don't like the sound of someone being convicted without evidence.
It's just too open to misuse.


"Them there libruls may wreak havoc upon er dern Patriot Act, let's sneak sumtin into the Drug Traffickin' Act..."

Honestly, if you're ducking radar, what the hell are you doing that isn't suspicious?
 
2009-01-22 07:52:00 AM  
Instead, it targets anyone intending to use the radar-ducking vessels to slip into U.S. waters undetected.

(coast guard cutter approaches a man in a life preserver in the ocean)

Sir you are under arrest for drug smuggling.

Drug smuggling? I am in a life preserver! The fishing boat I was on just sank!

Doesnt matter. Your life preserver does not show up on our radar so you must be smuggling drugs. As you are now resisting arrest I will have to taze you. ZAP!

(tazer misses and hits inflatable life preserver and it starts deflating)

I give up! I give up!

(Captian on coast guard vessel) He is still struggling. Taze him again!

ZAP!

AUUUGGGBlub blub blub.....
 
2009-01-22 07:54:38 AM  
CSP1: On a different note, a drug dealer in Rio de Janeiro was recently discovered to be raising alligators in a sewer close to his ghetto. He would dispose of people (dead and alive) in the sewer and the alligators would clean up pretty well after him. Now that's new and scary!

Didn't I see that in Romancing the Stone? You know, 20 some years ago.
/Will ya look at those snappers!
 
2009-01-22 07:58:44 AM  
Airfoilsguy: Watercraft that dosen't submerge can not be called a submarine.

This.

Actually, I've had an idea for a while now of using autonomous drug smuggling vessels, either true submersibles or semi-submersible.

In either case, they would use electric motors and batteries to accomplish the mission. For the semi-submersible, you could cover the top surface with solar cells to give you essentially unlimited range. If you make them roughly dolphin, whale, or fish shaped, it would be hard to distinguish them from the real thing by the air, and a slow electric motor driving a low speed prop probably wouldn't be loud enough to track effectively.

You could use old PC's for guidance, married to GPS for location updates and using flux-gate electronic compasses for when there isn't a GPS signal (perhaps when they are underwater, for the fully submersible).

Program them to sink when they reach their destination, and to only rise when they hear a certain combination of DTMF tones transmitted underwater. You would use a simple ballast tank and compressed air source, like that used in some of the fancier RC model submarines today. That way, the people who are going to retrieve it can disguise themselves as recreational boaters, and go about actually fishing or diving or whatever while they check to see if the coast is clear. Once satisfied, they simply transmit the tones into an underwater speaker, and the 'sub' rises to the surface.

Once you've unloaded the cargo, you send it back (properly ballasted, of course).

This minimizes the risk of shipments getting intercepted, and in fact it minimizes the risk of people being caught: Even if they do manage to intercept it, no one is available who can talk about who sent it from where.
 
2009-01-22 08:20:12 AM  
has anyone mentioned that this is old news?
 
2009-01-22 08:20:15 AM  
Has anyone posted this yet?

www.msghelp.net
 
2009-01-22 08:20:39 AM  
I have often wondered why the cartels never bought a Russian diesel/electric boat and just removed most of the berthing areas/storage areas and loaded it up with coke.

Given the new laws that automatically assume that if you are in a homemade subarine, you are smuggling drugs (written precisely for thses semisubmersible smugglers), I wonder how the homemade submarine community has been affected.
 
2009-01-22 08:21:39 AM  
That should read homemade subMarine, not subarine.
 
2009-01-22 08:27:45 AM  
DeathByGeekSquad: DeRosso: FTA: Congress reacted last year by passing the Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act. Despite the name, the law, signed in October, does not require authorities to seize a cargo of cocaine or other illicit drugs to send a crew to the slammer. Instead, it targets anyone intending to use the radar-ducking vessels to slip into U.S. waters undetected. That broad reach is necessary, proponents say, because drug smugglers often scuttle the subs at the first sign of trouble, leaving authorities without any evidence.

Okay, I know it's hard to fight these criminals, but I don't like the sound of someone being convicted without evidence.
It's just too open to misuse.

"Them there libruls may wreak havoc upon er dern Patriot Act, let's sneak sumtin into the Drug Traffickin' Act..."

Honestly, if you're ducking radar, what the hell are you doing that isn't suspicious?


They can put a glass bottom and claim they are reef observers.


Is it a good idea to arrest people for suspicious behavior?
 
2009-01-22 08:30:16 AM  
www.confederatenavy.com

Didn't work out so well for these guys, either.
 
2009-01-22 08:36:27 AM  
SniperJoe: I have often wondered why the cartels never bought a Russian diesel/electric boat and just removed most of the berthing areas/storage areas and loaded it up with coke.

The problem with that is that you need a sizable crew that is trained. That's a big expense. Remember, the drug cartels are in business. They have to make a profit. One of the homemade "subs" with a barely trained crew of 2 to 5 people is expendable: If only half the loads get through, they can still make enough profit.

On the other hand, a large multi-million dollar submarine has to be properly maintained and crewed. That costs money, probably enough so that it would take several voyages to recoup the price before you could start taking profit. Smugglers don't like to take that kind of long term view.


Given the new laws that automatically assume that if you are in a homemade subarine, you are smuggling drugs (written precisely for thses semisubmersible smugglers), I wonder how the homemade submarine community has been affected.


Carsten Standfuss unavailable for comment.
 
2009-01-22 08:41:11 AM  
dittybopper: The problem with that is that you need a sizable crew that is trained. That's a big expense. Remember, the drug cartels are in business. They have to make a profit. One of the homemade "subs" with a barely trained crew of 2 to 5 people is expendable: If only half the loads get through, they can still make enough profit.

On the other hand, a large multi-million dollar submarine has to be properly maintained and crewed. That costs money, probably enough so that it would take several voyages to recoup the price before you could start taking profit. Smugglers don't like to take that kind of long term view.

Carsten Standfuss unavailable for comment.


Oh, I agree completely. My train of thought on the submarines stems from the 80's, when I first thought of the idea though. The other problem is that even with a trained crew, they still may be caught and that rather large investment into the submarine and crew could be lost.

Don't forget about Peter Madsen either!
 
2009-01-22 08:57:36 AM  
SniperJoe: dittybopper: The problem with that is that you need a sizable crew that is trained. That's a big expense. Remember, the drug cartels are in business. They have to make a profit. One of the homemade "subs" with a barely trained crew of 2 to 5 people is expendable: If only half the loads get through, they can still make enough profit.

On the other hand, a large multi-million dollar submarine has to be properly maintained and crewed. That costs money, probably enough so that it would take several voyages to recoup the price before you could start taking profit. Smugglers don't like to take that kind of long term view.

Carsten Standfuss unavailable for comment.

Oh, I agree completely. My train of thought on the submarines stems from the 80's, when I first thought of the idea though. The other problem is that even with a trained crew, they still may be caught and that rather large investment into the submarine and crew could be lost.

Don't forget about Peter Madsen either!


You know that Kraka was for sale a while back. Type VII u-boat styling in a personal sub for a mere $250,000. Does it get any cooler than that?

By the way, I remember a comic book from the 1970's or early 1980's, probably written by Robert Crumb (though I could be mistaken) where Father Guido Sarducci used an old German U-boat, renamed the "Highly Selassie", to smuggle weed into the United States.

So it's not like the idea hasn't been around for a while.
 
2009-01-22 09:03:12 AM  
There are jungles in the United States? I know they're in Colombia.
 
2009-01-22 09:04:17 AM  
Some U.S. officials consider semi-submersibles a serious threat to U.S. national security. Navy Adm. Jim Stavridis, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, recently wondered: "Can you put a weapon of mass destruction in it?"


Well Duh... you can put WMD's in anything. Old floating Buicks from Cuba!

Coolers floating around with WMDs

catchall reason to seize a boat
 
2009-01-22 09:06:02 AM  
dittybopper: You know that Kraka was for sale a while back. Type VII u-boat styling in a personal sub for a mere $250,000. Does it get any cooler than that?

By the way, I remember a comic book from the 1970's or early 1980's, probably written by Robert Crumb (though I could be mistaken) where Father Guido Sarducci used an old German U-boat, renamed the "Highly Selassie", to smuggle weed into the United States.

So it's not like the idea hasn't been around for a while.


Hrmm.. I didn't know that. Of course, I don't exactly have a quarter million dollars lying around. A cool toy for sure, though.

I am not surprised that the idea has been around for a long time, but either the cartels never attempted it until lately, or the Coast Guard never caught on to it until fairly recently.
 
2009-01-22 09:19:20 AM  
dittybopper: By the way, I remember a comic book from the 1970's or early 1980's, probably written by Robert Crumb (though I could be mistaken) where Father Guido Sarducci used an old German U-boat, renamed the "Highly Selassie", to smuggle weed into the United States.

So it's not like the idea hasn't been around for a while.


That's actually pretty good idea. During prohibition they launched torpedo tubes filled with bottles of alcohol onto beaches near speakeasies on the East Coast to circumvent detection.
 
2009-01-22 09:30:27 AM  
The DEA will ALWAYS be three steps behind the power of demand-fueled innovation coupled with almost limitless cash. But hey, the morally superior get to pretend it's working. Better to just build more prisons, waste more billions...
 
2009-01-22 09:36:55 AM  
DeRosso: FTA: Congress reacted last year by passing the Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act. Despite the name, the law, signed in October, does not require authorities to seize a cargo of cocaine or other illicit drugs to send a crew to the slammer. Instead, it targets anyone intending to use the radar-ducking vessels to slip into U.S. waters undetected. That broad reach is necessary, proponents say, because drug smugglers often scuttle the subs at the first sign of trouble, leaving authorities without any evidence.

Okay, I know it's hard to fight these criminals, but I don't like the sound of someone being convicted without evidence.
It's just too open to misuse.


There is evidence, just not the actual cargo.

So you didn't find drugs, but you found a ship designed to dodge radar, sneaking into the US and not responding to the coast guard, probably with a few arms,
 
2009-01-22 09:37:36 AM  
The Navy is still looking for a few good aviation anti submarine operators AW's Join today
ride the WAVES.
 
2009-01-22 09:47:18 AM  
Came here for the Old-news-subby-smackdown.

Not disappointed.
 
2009-01-22 09:51:33 AM  
TheWizard:
There is evidence, just not the actual cargo.

So you didn't find drugs, but you found a ship designed to dodge radar, sneaking into the US and not responding to the coast guard, probably with a few arms,


You don't know that. Presumably, those arms, if any, are at the bottom of the sea, unavailable as evidence absent some herculean attempt to gather it up for analysis and presentation in court.

Besides which, what if you are smuggling people? Or guns? Or explosives? or tobacco? or any number of other things? Isn't the presumption of drug smuggling a bit, well, presumptuous?
 
2009-01-22 10:02:07 AM  
Harry Freakstorm: Back when Michael Jackson was rich, he went looking to buy animals for his Neverland Ranch. Exotic animal salespeople flooded him with offers. One guy told Michael "I have a Wilderbeast the likes no one has ever seen. I will sell it to you."
Michael said "Is it young? I want young animals so they can live the good life on my Neverland Ranch."
The salesman said "Oh, it's very young. And a wilderbeast like this will live 20 years."
Michael asked to see this creature. He was very interested in adding a wilderbeast to his zoo. But the salesman underestimated Michael. He thought that the pop star knew nothing about exotic creature.

Because Michael took one look at the young wilderbeast and said "Are you trying to sell me old gnus?"


I'm SO glad I stuck with that one till the end.

Bravo sir!!!
 
2009-01-22 10:04:37 AM  
The fact that this is old news is old news.
 
2009-01-22 10:16:13 AM  
Another possibility would be flying a variation of the Facetmobile.

While Wainfan's design isn't particularly stealthy, it could be made so with some effort, keeping the basic aerodynamic shape but using different materials to build it.

Probably the hardest part to 'stealthize' would be the engine and propeller.
 
2009-01-22 10:18:27 AM  
Next up: narco stealth cruise missles.

Anybody else want to give up on the drug war?
 
2009-01-22 10:21:52 AM  
Ain`Soph: Not really new considering I first heard about this in the late 80's.

FTA: "Narco subs were first detected in 1993 ..."

You must have been a smuggler. Good job on avoiding detection for five or so years!
 
2009-01-22 10:26:05 AM  
FTA: Navy Adm. Jim Stavridis, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, recently wondered: "Can you put a weapon of mass destruction in it?"

In other news, the US Southern Command commander is protecting the US with powerful intelligence assessments.
 
2009-01-22 10:39:15 AM  
"Give me a rail, Vasili. One rail only please..."
 
2009-01-22 10:48:27 AM  
piperTom: Next up: narco stealth cruise missles.

Anybody else want to give up on the drug war?


Wouldn't be too hard to do.


img142.imageshack.us

This model plane, the "Spirit of Butts Farm", crossed the Atlantic autonomously. Scale it up to hold some cargo, and there you go.
 
2009-01-22 10:51:15 AM  
Perhaps the "newness" of this article is referring to the recently enacted law that doesn't require any evidence to prosecute. However the headline is still misleading, subby.
 
2009-01-22 10:54:50 AM  
Why not paint it a darker color more like the ocean? Just a suggestion.
www.murdoconline.net
Or maybe make a submarine that actually submerges?
 
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