Narco-Subs: The Next Generation | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Narco-Subs: The Next Generation

New, totally submersible "drug submarines" are getting faster, more technologically advanced—and much harder to spot.


A drug sub crew abandoning ship. Photo via

By Hunter R. Slaton


| Share

Using “drug subs” to smuggle blow from South America to the US is a relatively new innovation from traffickers—and these handmade vessels are only getting more advanced and speedier, not to mention harder to detect. Previously most drug subs were semi-submersibles, which had to float just below the waterline in order to provide air (through a snorkel) for their diesel engines, and which had a max range of about 3,000 miles. But, according to the New York Times, new models—including three interdicted recently by the US Coast Guard—are capable of staying totally underwater (except for surfacing nightly to recharge batteries) for the entire trip from, say, Ecuador to Los Angeles, or nearly 4,400 miles. Drug subs first began to been seen in the 1990s in the Eastern Pacific, but now are pushing into new territories, specifically the Caribbean trade routes previously dominated by the “fast boats” of a previous era of narcotics shipping.

Sub-hunters in the Coast Guard and US intelligence continue to do their work—despite the fact that three-quarters of possible drug cargo is allowed to proceed unmolested, due to the lack of anywhere near enough aircraft and ships to track and intercept shipments. But ever-improving drug-sub technology is raising another concern: US officials are worried about the potential use of these types of drug subs by terrorists, although this has yet to be seen. Coast Guard Commander Mark Fedor tells the Times, “These vessels are seaworthy enough that I have no doubt in my mind that if they had enough fuel, they could easily sail into a port in the United States.”

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Normies React to the 12 Steps

"I think admitting to having a problem in general is the right first step, but to admit powerlessness is unhealthy. .. I think admitting powerlessness is more harmful because it doesn't help. Admitting that you want and need help is more useful after admittance."

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv