Self-propelled semi-submersibles the next great threat to regional security and stability
Watkins, Lance J.
Berger, Marcos T.
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The most effective and fastest-evolving delivery system for cocaine to move from its place of production in Colombia to the United States market has undoubtedly become the Self-Propelled Semi-Submersible (SPSS). Often called "drug subs" or "narco submarines," SPSSs are used to transport cocaine from Colombia's Pacific coast into Central America and Mexico, then overland to the United States. This thesis begins with an examination of the evolution of the illegal narcotics trade in Colombia since the 1990s. It examines the actions of United States government (USG) and Government of Colombia (GOC) to counter the production and transportation of illegal drugs through fumigation, manual eradication, air-bridge denial and maritime interdiction strategies. The success of these strategies has caused Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) to develop and launch SPSSs, and now self-propelled fully submersibles (SPFSs). The increasing sophistication and range of the SPSS/SPFS have given rise to at least two fears: first, that cocaine may be transported straight onto U.S. shores by boats that are practically impossible to detect. Second, that a terrorist group will use SPSS/SPFS to transport Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) into the United States and other nations.
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