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Honduras intercepts drug submarine

30 july 2011, 16:53
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Tengrinews.kz stock photo
Tengrinews.kz stock photo
Honduras has intercepted a submarine used to smuggle drugs from Colombia, AFP reports citing the country's officials.

Defense Minister Marlon Pascua said five alleged smugglers were arrested after they scuttled the vessel when they were detected 16 miles (26 kilometers) off the country's Caribbean coast.

"We intend to recover the drugs, and we are asking for aid from friendly countries to recover the vessel," Pascua told local media.

"It is important to have proof so that the full weight of the law can be applied to these people," he added.

Pascua said the vessel had originated in Colombia and was sunk in 14-meter-deep (46-foot-deep) water.

He estimated it could carry three to five tons of cocaine, far more than the small planes and speedboats normally intercepted in the area.

This year Honduras has seized nearly five tons of cocaine, much of it originating in South America and bound for lucrative markets to the north, especially the United States.

Although this is the first time Honduras has intercepted such a vessel, Ecuador seized a large homemade submarine in a marsh near the Colombian border in July 2010 that was designed to carry as much as 12 tons of cocaine.

And Colombia has seized more than a dozen such submarines since 2009. The nearly undetectable vessels can carry several tons of drugs and can be easily abandoned or sunk by traffickers, who can then pose as castaways.

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