Tegucigalpa: Honduras has
intercepted a submarine used to smuggle drugs from Colombia,
government officials said.
Defence Minister Marlon Pascua said yesterday that five
alleged smugglers were arrested after they scuttled the vessel
when they were detected 16 miles (26 kilometres) 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.