updated 8/7/2007 10:13:59 PM ET 2007-08-08T02:13:59

Colombia’s navy seized a 65-foot submarine that likely was used to haul tons of cocaine on part of its journey to the United States, officials said Tuesday.

No drugs were found or arrests made when the fiberglass submarine was discovered Sunday in a swampy mangrove about six miles off the northernmost point of Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

The blue-colored, diesel-powered vessel had sophisticated communications systems and was capable of carrying up to 11 tons of cocaine, Rear Admiral Roberto Garcia Marquez, head of the navy’s Caribbean fleet, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine and the country’s drug cartels have been known to use homemade submarines to smuggle large amounts of cocaine past U.S. and Colombian patrol boats to Central America, a stop on the route to the United States.

Almost a dozen drug submarines have been found in recent years, most believed to depart from Colombia’s Pacific Coast, closer to the operating base of the Norte del Valle cartel, the country’s largest drug smuggling organization.

Garcia Marquez said the latest discovery was the first in the arid Guajira peninsula, a region that has long been a smuggler’s paradise owing to its irregular coastline next to Venezuela and proximity to several Caribbean island nations.

In November, naval authorities in Costa Rica found a 49-foot submarine packed with 3.3 tons of cocaine off the country’s Pacific coastline in international waters.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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