Sophisticated submarine-like boats are the latest tool drug runners are using to bring cocaine north from Colombia, U.S. officials say.
Although the vessels were once viewed as a quirky sideshow in the drug war, they are becoming faster, more seaworthy, and capable of carrying bigger loads of drugs than earlier models, according to those charged with catching them.
"They tend to be one of a kind," U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen said. "They cost up to a million dollars to produce. Sometimes they are put together in pieces and then reassembled in other locations. They're very difficult to locate."
The boats are built in the Colombian jungle. They sail largely beneath the surface of the water but cannot submerge completely like a true submarine.