Drug dealers do the kind of architecting that Ivanka Trump is so fond of quoting.

The same style of drug smuggling boat appears in more than one ocean. Forbes magazine wonders why.

This operational question is much like the rules governing US sales of Javelin missiles specify that they can only be located in western Ukraine so that they really can’t be used against … Russians.

Darn that provenance and iconological resemblance. Another authorial reason to support the as yet unbuilt new southern border wall, protected by hundreds of millions of dollars of regular US troops. Forbes magazine is indeed the capitalist’s tool.

The so-called narco submarine recently recovered in Spain may be connected to an example captured over 5,000 miles away in the Eastern Pacific in January. The Spanish example is significant because it is the first of this type of vessel captured on the European side of the Atlantic. The inference is that this may have made a trans-Atlantic voyage, either towed or under its own power.


The cockpits have small details in common which, together with the lower hull lines, stern shape and exhaust arrangement, act as the designer’s fingerprint. In front of the windshields, which are arranged in a wedge shape with vertical sides, is a dividing plate. This is very distinctive. And the shape of the hatch, which folds forward, is another tell.

There are more significant differences also. The Colombian example was narrower, with a hull form called a Very Slender Vessel (VSV). This means that the width is less than 1 tenth of its length. Another difference is that the cockpit is longer on the latest example. This may mean that the design has evolved, or be because of differing requirements. The Atlantic version may be required to travel longer distances, or carry more drugs.

Having the same master boat builder does not mean that the same drug cartels are involved. Narco submarine builders are believed to work for more than one customer. And often the vessels themselves carry products from more than one cartel. We can tell this because cocaine packages typically have a producer’s mark of some kind.


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