Four Colombians have been detained by Guatemalan authorities after being found on board a submarine carrying five tons of cocaine bound for the U.S, the Guatemalan military said Sunday.
The operation, which was carried out jointly by the Guatemalan navy and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) located the 55-foot (17-meter) vessel off Guatemala’s Pacific coast on Friday. The four men on board were identified as Colombian nationals and taken into custody. They are Marcelino Cossio, 50, Jairo Estupiñan, 48, Enrique Cuero Salazar, 31, and Dionisio Pares, 57.
Armed forces spokesman Byron Gutierrez said the crew attempted to sink the boat when surprised by navy units and the DEA. However, the vessel was recovered by authorities with no casualties.
“There was a sleeping compartment, another (compartment) for the engine, and a third for cargo which was full of cocaine,” the official said.
Colombia’s drug cartels frequently use semi-submersible vessels to smuggle large amounts of cocaine past American and Colombian patrol boats to Central America en route to the United States.
In July, the first fully-submersible submarine was uncovered at a jungle shipyard in Ecuador. The DEA described the100-foot (33-meter) vessel as a “quantum leap” in drug-smuggling technology, capable of long-range underwater operation.