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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Colombia navy intercepts "suspicious" motor boat, finds over $41 million worth of cocaine

The Colombian navy seized over one ton of cocaine, worth tens of millions of dollars, after intercepting a "suspicious" motor boat sailing to Central America, authorities said Thursday.

The "go fast" boat was traveling in waters off the Providencia Archipelago, which is the only part of the country located in Central America and is about 110 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. The vessel was monitored by a Maritime Task Group, the Colombian navy said in a news release, and after a prolonged pursuit, the task group intercepted the boat.

The boat was manned by five people from Colombia, and officials said they found 48 packages and 40 loose rectangular packages with the "suspicious substance" inside the ship. When the boat and its crew were taken to the San Andrés Coast Guard Station, a preliminary identification found that the substance was cocaine, the navy said.

According to the test, the seized cocaine weighed 1,235 kilograms, or about 1.36 tons. That much of the drug would be valued at "more than $41,619,000 in the international illegal market," authorties said.

According to the BBC, Colombia produces 60% of the cocaine found in the world. Other top-producing countries include Peru and Bolivia. CBS News has previously reported that the United States is the world's largest consumer of Colombian cocaine.

"Go fast" boats are a common way of transporting the substances and can be customized to evade detection, according to Forbes. The boats have been used since the 1980s, and now typically make landfall in Mexico, from where drugs are transported into the United States.

"Narco submarines" have also been used to ferry drugs, with the Colombian navy intercepting 228 such vessels in the past 30 years. In 2023 alone, the Colombian navy has kept at least 13 "narco subs" from reaching their intended destinations. The vessels are usually low in the water, evading detection, but rarely fully submerge, CBS News previously reported.

In May 2023, Colombian authorities intercepted the largest such sub ever recorded. This boat was 100 feet long and 10 feet wide, with three tons of cocaine on board. Just two weeks later, the crew of a semi-sumbersible vessel carrying over 5,000 pounds of cocaine tried to sink the drugs, worth $81 million, and the sub itself, after being detected by Colombian authorities. The efforts failed, and the three men aboard were arrested.

So far this year, the Colombian Navy has seized 265 tons of cocaine, officials said Thursday.

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