Narco-Terrorists Build Untraceable Submarines to Sneak up on U.S. Border

The capability of drug traffickers eludes the sequestration-ravaged military.

Sailors participate in M4 rifle small arms qualification on the flight deck onboard the USS Underwood while patrolling in international waters near Panama in October 2012. (Dario Lopez-Mills/AP Photo)

Sailors participate in an M4 rifle small arms qualification in October 2012 on board the USS Underwood while patrolling international waters near Panama for narco-traffickers, who have begun to employ military-style equipment such as improvised explosive devices and even untraceable homemade submarines.

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"It is truly a global problem and we need to be concerned about flows going not only into the U.S. but into these other directions as well," Michel says.

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"The trends in the non-U.S. direction are not good," he adds. "Those routes that move in other directions are by magnitudes far less patrolled and controlled than those in the U.S."

JIATFS is increasingly modernizing its tactics as it fields only three U.S. Coast Guard ships, one Navy vessel, and a handful of aircraft from the Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force. It is turning more to intelligence gleaned from drones and cyber investigations, and no longer conducts regional patrols. It only deploys ships for specific interdictions, Michel says.

JIATFS has been tasked with interception of 40 percent of U.S.-bound cocaine by 2015. In 2012 that number was roughly 25 percent.


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