The 65-foot vessel, which in itself is estimated to cost $3 million to build, was tracked down Sunday off the coast of Pontevedra, according to El Pais. Investigators are now hoping to crane-lift the sub onto the dock at the Port of Aldán so that they can get inside more easily, an official from the government’s office in the province said Tuesday.
Spanish authorities said it was the first time a submarine had been found to be used in drug trafficking in the country – and that they had been monitoring the vessel´s movements in recent days in coordination with international police.
The submarine is believed to have departed from Colombia, according to El Pais. Following its capture, two Ecuadoreans on board were taken into custody, but a third person that escaped remains on the lam, the newspaper added.
The submarine sank as police tried to intercept it Sunday, yet it wasn’t clear if the crew sank it on purpose.
Sources that spoke to El Pais said the vessel was carrying around 6,600 pounds of cocaine and the criminal organizations affiliated with it must be “big, since just the submarine itself must have cost around €2.5 million ($2.75 million).” The sources also said they believe the submarine was built in the South American country of Guyana and has been in operation “for years.”
The Spanish region of Galicia, where the ship was intercepted, is reported to have a long history with drug smuggling as its winding coastline provides plenty of areas for traffickers to discreetly move in and out of.
In 2006, investigators found an abandoned homemade submarine there, The Telegraph reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.