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Drug Cartels New Fast Boat Makes It Harder For Law Enforcement to Detect

January 17, 2015  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Drug Cartels New Fast Boat Makes It Harder For Law Enforcement to Detect Image courtesy of foxnews.com

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Drug cartels in Central America have develops a sleek new smuggling vehicle that is practically impossible for law enforcement to track by radar, crime experts say.

The criminals have replaced older, slow boats with sleek ‘Picuda’ models that are long, thin and can confound detection methods, the analysts said.

Picudas can go as much as twice as fast as traditional smuggling vessels while carrying around one ton of illegal drugs.

The covert trips, made after dark, often take the smugglers from Colombia to Costa Rica, Honduras or Jamaica to unload their cargo to be sold off.

Whereas the trips used to take three days in the older speed boats, they can now be finished in two, according to military publication Dialogo.

The new boats also have a more efficient design, which means they use less fuel, saving money and making room for more illegal drugs, the report said.

By employing fiberglass as the sole building material for the hulls – rather than just parts as before – the boats have also been made practically impervious to radar, confounding Coast Guard authorities who try to catch them.

The boats, which measure 32-38 ft long, are equipped with three separate 200 horsepower engines. An equivalent sized fishing boat may have 50 horsepower at its disposal – a twelfth of the power.

Adam Isacson, a security expert at the Washington Office on Latin America, said the developments are another sign of the criminals’ high-tech struggle with authorities like the U.S. Coast Guard.

He told Fox News that the cartels’ tooling-up is: ‘clearly indicative of the cat-and-mouse game they are playing with the law.’

The Coast Guard does sometimes win out over the smugglers. In November they recovered a 580-kilogram stash of cocaine off the coast of Central America. But much continues to slip through, both in boats and in so-called narco-subs – underwater vehicles stuffed with drugs which are extremely difficult to find when they are on the move.

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