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Spanish police smash plans for drug smugglers’ submarines

MADRID (AP) – Spanish police announced on Friday that they had confiscated a homemade narcotics submarine that could carry up to 2 meters (2.2 tons) of cargo.

The 9-meter (30-foot) craft was encountered by police last month as it was being built in Malaga, on Spain’s Costa del Sol, during a wider international drug operation involving five other countries, including the European Union’s criminal agency. Europol:

The 3-meter-wide (10-foot-wide) semi-submersible craft is made of fiberglass-plywood panels attached to the structural frame, with three holes on one side and painted light blue. It has two 200-horsepower engines that run from the inside.

Spanish police chief Rafael Perez says the ship never sailed.

“We think he was going to go out to sea to meet a mother ship (which) was going to take drugs,” Perez told reporters, possibly before returning to Spain.

“It’s like an iceberg,” he said of the ship’s structure. “Almost everything goes under water, except from above, which is the only part of it that could be eaten by another ship or helicopter.”

Similar drug smuggling vessels have been found in the Atlantic, especially near Central and South America. They sit low in the water to avoid detection, rarely being able to dive completely.

Wide police operation against alleged international smuggling network over different parts of Spain discovered hundreds of kilos of cocaine, hashish and marijuana, arrested 52 people.

A statement from Spanish police said that police from Colombia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Portugal were also involved in the operation.

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