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  1. Alfa

    POLICE have found a home-made submarine capable of carrying $260 million worth of cocaine on a Pacific Ocean smuggling mission.

    Police, who acted on a tip, made no arrests after finding the submarine hidden in the port of Tumaco, near the border with Ecuador, police said yesterday.

    It was the second publicised case of Colombian drug smugglers trying to use submarines. In 2000, an underwater vessel was found far from the coast in the Andean mountain capital of Bogota.

    "They started building the submarine about six months ago, using small pieces so as not to make people suspicious," said Eduardo Fernandez, the security chief in the southern province of Valle del Cauca.

    "They wanted to have it ready for Easter because they thought the police would drop their guard." He did not say where the submarine appeared to be headed or how far it could travel.

    The vessel could carry 10 tonnes of cocaine, which could be worth $260-$390 million on US streets. Funds from Colombian cocaine smuggling help finance Marxist rebels and far-Right paramilitary outlaws in a four-decade-old war that claims thousands of lives every year.

    Colombia is the world's biggest cocaine producer.


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