A small submarine used to smuggle drugs was found in Ecuador, near the border with Colombia, during a joint operation by marines and National Police officers, but no arrests were made, officials said.
The vessel was found on Friday by a patrol near El Viento, a border area in the coastal province of Esmeraldas.
The submarine was empty, Northern Command chief Carlos Albuja Obregon said.
Two barracks with the capacity to house about 50 people each were found near the vessel.
The sub was found during a border monitoring operation launched on June 24, Albuja Obregon said.
The submarine was equipped with communications and navigation equipment, as well as a periscope, the military commander said, adding that the vessel was used to smuggle drugs out of the country.
Investigators are trying to determine where the vessel came from, prosecutors said.
According to CNN...
More information over @ the Information Dissemination blog.
"This is the first seizure of a clandestinely constructed fully operational submarine built to facilitate trans-oceanic drug trafficking," the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a statement. The vessel utilized twin screws and was diesel electric-powered, the agency said. It was about 30 meters (98 feet) long and nearly 3 meters (nine feet) high from the deck plates to the ceiling. It has a periscope and an air-conditioning system...Acting on intelligence, Ecuadorean authorities were able to seize the vessel for before its maiden voyage, the statement said.
Built of fiberglass and other composites, it has a conning tower, periscope and air conditioning system and measures about 9 feet (2.7 meters) high from the deck plates to the ceiling, the DEA said. Ecuadorean police told the DEA the vessel has the capacity for about 10 metric tons of cargo, a crew of five or six people and the ability to fully submerge, Bergman said.