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Video shows smugglers testing remote-controlled submarine to transport drugs, Italian police say

Combating narco-subs and trafficking
Combating narco-subs and narco-terrorism in the U.S. and abroad 04:35

Italian police announced Tuesday the seizure of a remote-controlled submarine likely intended to transport drugs as part of an international drug trafficking network, marking the discovery of a much smaller version of the so-called "narco subs" that are routinely spotted in international waters.

Investigators made the unusual discovery during probes into suspects based in Turin in northern Italy, who were cultivating marijuana under the cover of managing car wash stations.

"The traffickers had, amongst other things, designed and tested a small remote-controlled submarine, probably designed to transport the drugs," a statement from the Carabinieri police said.

They released a video taken during surveillance operations showing the submarine, which is just a few meters long, operating on the surface of a body of water.

The network, headed by two brothers of Albanian origin, operated between Ecuador, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy, according to the same source.

The police reported seizing a total of 204 kilograms (450 pounds) of cocaine and hashish during the course of the investigation.

The cocaine most likely arrived in Italy from South America, passing through Holland, while the hashish was transported from Spain and France, using cars retrofitted with "homemade double floors," the police said.

Much larger semi-submersibles, which cannot go fully underwater, are popular among international drug traffickers as they can often elude detection by authorities. The so-called "narco-subs" are sometimes seized in Colombian waters while heading to the United States, Central America and Europe.  

The Colombian Navy said it intercepted at least 20 semi-submersibles in 2023, leading to the seizure of 30 tons of cocaine and more than five tons of marijuana. 

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