Three underwater drones used to smuggle drugs across the Strait of Gibraltar have been confiscated by Spain's National Police after a 14-month investigation, according to the BBC.
Desmantelada una organizacion que fabricaba #drones y #semisumergibles capaces de cruzar el Estrecho con hasta 200 kg de drogaHay 8 personas detenidas en #Cadiz, #Malaga, and #Barcelona1, vez que se intervienen vehiculos that operate close to the agua without tripulacion a bordo pic.
Unmanned vehicle technology is finding a wide spectrum of uses, from delivering food to medicine, while also assisting nations resist attacks from hostile neighbors. Additionally, with drones now available off-the-shelf, the advantages of using this technology are not out of the reach of smugglers of contraband substances.
Last year, we reported that a five-engine drone that could fly for seven hours was used to smuggle drugs. The drone was discovered by the Spanish National Police's special crime division, and a year later, the authorities discovered a different method of transporting drugs, this time by water.
Why is Spain a hotspot for smuggling?
According to a BBC report, Spain has become the primary route for smuggling cannabis into Europe due to its geographical proximity to Morocco, one of the world's largest cannabis producers. These two countries, which are situated on two continents, are about nine miles (15 km) apart and can be easily separated.In April, police caught 100 members of a gang attempting to transport cannabis across the Strait of Gibraltar.
Spain is also close to several South American nations that are involved in cocaine production, according to The Guardian. Authorities sentenced members of a transatlantic consortium plotting to deliver 123 million dollars of cocaine from Brazil to its own semi-submersible vessels, dubbed "narcosubmarines" earlier this year.
The submersible smuggling drones
The smugglers topped themselves and constructed three uncrewed vessels, each capable of transporting 440 pounds (220 kg) of drugs across the Strait. While one of the three was completely built, the other two were under construction when the authorities discovered them.
The group of members, which included officials from Italy, Denmark, and France, had been involved in making false boat bottoms and hidden storage compartments for automobiles and trailers, and were now developing marine drones. Six aerial drones were discovered, each with a range of up to 18 miles (30 km) and carrying payloads of up to 440 pounds (200 kg).
Spanish National Police confiscated nearly 320 pounds (145 kg) of hashish, 17.67 pounds (8 kg) of marijuana, and 157,370 euros (US$162,200) in cash during the arrests.