Washington, May 5, 2008
U.S. Congressman Ted Poe
The drug cartels in South America, specifically in Colombia,
continue to figure out innovative ways to import cocaine at a
profit into our country.
Now they are doing it by sea, and they are using submarines that
they make in the jungles where they make the cocaine that they
bring into the United States.
I have here, Mr. Speaker, a photograph of a submarine. This
photograph was taken by the United States Coast Guard as they
were on patrol off the coast of Colombia with the United States
Navy. This submarine is made out of fiberglass. It is about 100
feet long and it carries approximately $300 million worth of
cocaine. It has a crew of five.
It is made in such a way that when intercepted by the United
States Navy or the United States Coast Guard, they are able to
pull certain levers and valves on this submarine and it is
junked in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of Colombia. They
scuttle these ships, because what happens is when they scuttle
them, the five man crew jumps off the boat into a lifeboat, and
then our United States Navy has to rescue them and save them,
but they can't prosecute them for importation of drugs into the
These submarines cost the drug cartels about $1 million apiece
to manufacture. Intelligence sources tell us that the drug
cartels will bring in approximately 90 more loads of drugs into
the United States from Colombia using these submarines the rest
of this calendar year.
They are made in such a way that they are highly mobile. They go
about 14 knots apiece, and they are able to go all the way from
Colombia into the United States without refueling. It is a
constant problem for our Navy and our United States Coast Guard
to track these individuals and to catch them with the cocaine.
Only one situation where we, I say we, the United States Navy
and the Coast Guard, were able to capture one of these vessels
before it was scuttled and prosecute the crew was when they
tried to sink it off the coast of Colombia after seeing the
United States Navy. But what happened was after they scuttled
the submarine, a load of cocaine, a bundle of cocaine, if you
will, came to the surface. Once it came to the surface it was
confiscated by our Navy. The five member crew was captured and
they have been taken to Tampa, Florida, and they are on trial
for importation of narcotics into the United States.
I bring this to the House's attention, Mr. Speaker, because of
the fact that Congress needs to deal with this issue. These
submarines carry no flag. They are not registered to any nation
or foreign government. The crew members come from all over the
world, mostly from Colombia. They claim no citizenship from any
nation. And they don't claim, of course, possession of the
So Congress can deal with this issue by making it a Federal
offense to use a submarine within international waters that
carries no flag, carries no registration of another nation, and
if a person is caught operating one of these vessels, they could
be prosecuted as if they had drugs. The drug cartels are smart.
They know if they can destroy the evidence they can't be
prosecuted. We need to make a law that being in possession of
this submarine is enough to prosecute them for crimes on the
Mr. Speaker, I might add that these vessels are so manufactured
that they are not just able to carry cocaine into the United
States worth $300 million, or 12 tons, that is how much cocaine,
but that same vessel can go into any of our ports in the United
States as a submarine carrying weapons, explosives, weapons of
mass destruction, and used as some type of suicide submarine,
similar to what was used against the USS Cole some years ago in
the Middle East.
So the United States Coast Guard and Navy is to be complimented
for tracking these vessels and doing everything they can to
interdict the individuals that bring that cancer into the United
States, and Congress needs to deal with the issue, to have these
submarines that are basically at war with the United States
bringing in these narcotics, have it be a crime to be in
possession as a crew member of one of these vessels. It is
things like this where we have to keep constant diligence in
fighting the war on drugs.
Just to be clear, Mr. Speaker, intelligence tells us that these
submarines are made by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, or FARC. That is the military wing of the Colombian
communist party. Of course, that is how they finance their
revolution and the revolutionary ideas in South America.
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