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Drug Runners Perfect Long-Range Subs

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the only-outlaws-will-have-submarines dept.

Crime 428

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Authorities have captured a 74-foot camouflaged submarine — nearly twice as long as a city bus — with twin propellers and a 5-foot conning tower that, with a crew of four to six, has a maximum operational range of 6,800 nautical miles on the surface, can go 10 days without refueling and was probably designed to ferry cocaine underwater to Mexico. The vessel carries a payload of 9 tons of cocaine with a street value of about $250 million and uses a GPS chart plotter with side-scan capabilities, a high-frequency radio, an electro-optical periscope and an infrared camera mounted on the conning tower—visual aids that supplement two miniature windows in the makeshift cockpit. "This is the most sophisticated sub we've seen to date," says Jon Wallace who has headed the Personal Submersibles Organization, or Psubs, for 15 years. "It's a very good design in terms of shape and controls." In the meantime jungle shipbuilders continue to perfect their craft."

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In others news .... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695250)

The DEA perfects the Depth Charge.

Re:In others news .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695402)

The DEA is about as ineffective as a government agency gets,
and it ignores the fundamental problem that as long as there is
demand, there WILL be a supply.

Of course, this is about what ought to be expected from an agency
which was brought to like by that lying scheming sociopathic crook Richard Nixon.

Re:In others news .... (3, Funny)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695446)

What are you talking about? Those guys do a great job at protecting the profits of the cartels! How else could they afford such awesome toys as a submarine?

Re:In others news .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695524)

"Of course, this is about what ought to be expected from an agency
which was brought to like by that lying scheming sociopathic crook Richard Nixon."

Like the EPA?

Re:In others news .... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695722)

The problem isn't attack, this thing has a crush depth of under 100 feet and is 'armed' only to the extent that the cartels probably send a heavy or two along to make sure that the crew don't decide to find a higher bidder for the cargo.

The tricky bit is detection: There's a lot of ocean out there, and a composite-skinned boat barely sticking out of the water is going to have a comparatively minimal radar presence, a worthwhile thermal signature only if they are running on diesel, and probably count as fairly quiet by the standards of all but substantially more expensive combat subs.

What's funny is (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695256)

The number of people I know who think drugs are legal now because of the medical Marijuana laws. Let me be the first to say though, 9 tons of processed plant matter should not be worth $250 million. Isn't that $14k/lb? Who the heck is snorting it at that price? A sub is a small price to pay for that.

Re:What's funny is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695322)

yeh, 250M$ worth of oil is more or less what a 100M$ supertanker can take and I'm sure the profit margin on transporting cocaine is a fair bit higher than oil.

Re:What's funny is (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695338)

Let me be the first to say though, 9 tons of processed plant matter should not be worth $250 million. Isn't that $14k/lb? Who the heck is snorting it at that price?

It's been said a before, I know, but it's a direct result of the legal restrictions on the trade - they reduce supply and increase the risks of doing business, both of which increase the sale price. Of course, the profits to be had go (by definition) to outlaws, and those who already operate outside the law are more likely to protect their business by violent means, further increasing price by (literally) killing off competition, as well as creating the destabilising gang warfare as seen in Mexico.

If the manufacture and sale of drugs were a legitimate business, of course, then this revenue stream to organised crime would be dramatically curtailed, and the combination of increased tax revenue and reduced enforcement costs would more than account for any predicted increase in addiction treatment costs. The one thing I can't work out is why there is so little debate on the matter among those with the power to change it, despite repeated calls for reform from their scientific advisers. I'm not that surprised that they ignore the scientists, but I am surprised that they miss an opportunity to take money and power from the criminals and exploit it themselves.

Re:What's funny is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695382)

because they are in on the racket, how is that hard to comprehend

Re:What's funny is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695454)

because they are in on the racket, how is that hard to comprehend

Who is "they"? All of "them"? What a worthless statement.

Re:What's funny is (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695436)

"The one thing I can't work out is why there is so little debate on the matter among those with the power to change it"

Three words: Private prison lobbyists

Re:What's funny is (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695468)

Right and legal drugs don't have an underground market. You name one drug including Tylenol and cough syrup and you can find a black market for it.

Hell American's are going to Canada to buy their prescription medications because those same drugs made by the same company are being sold in the USA at 10 times the price.

Just because you make it legal doesn't mean the price will go down on it. Drugs are dealt with poorly in this country for the sake of profits.

Re:What's funny is (1, Interesting)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695650)

Right and legal drugs don't have an underground market.

Ummm... Tobacco, alcohol are legal drugs, but there is plenty of black market for both.

Re:What's funny is (3, Funny)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695708)

Sometimes I read a post and stop after one sentence too.

"You name one drug including Tylenol and cough syrup and you can find a black market for it."

Re:What's funny is (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695810)

There is a black market because of age restrictions and taxes. Cigarettes especially have super high taxes on them, and black market dealers don't collect them. Or check ID.

Re:What's funny is (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695782)

If a drug is freely and legally available the patent owner (though patent licensing fees) if there is one and/or the governement (through taxes or lack of taxes) will largely control the price and provided they aren't too greedy will get the lions share of the profit. Illegal sources that want to survive will have to undercut the legal source.

Patent holders will set the price at what the market will bear, clearly they have determined that the american market (where the buyers are largely private insurance companies) will bear a higher price than the canadian market (where afaict the main buyer is the government).

Most of the well known illegal drugs are too old to be under patent protection and/or where developed by entities with no interest in patenting so if legalised and not taxed (beyond normal taxes that apply to any goods) they would become much cheaper. If legalised and taxed (like tobacco and alcohol are) then their price would be largely under government control.

Re:What's funny is (5, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695474)

Just wanted to add to what you said: look at the parallels to Prohibition in the twenties and early thirties.

Alcohol was made illegal and what happened? Gang warfare. Smuggling. Higher addiction rates, instead of lower ones like you might expect, only now the addicts are going broke because of the increased prices. Criminality of all stripes caused by desperate, broke addicts. Illegal products contaminated by poisons (methanol, mostly). Law enforcement resources diverted when they were sorely needed elsewhere. Officials bribed and corrupted. Assassination and murder for hire, the inevitable result of unscrupulous people flush with cash operating outside the law. This was not a good time to be alive.

Every negative consequence of Prohibition is mirrored in the modern War on Drugs. And what happened when Prohibition was repealed? The problems slowly went away. There wasn't an explosion of alcoholism; the addicts were there all along and nobody suddenly decided to join their number now that it was legal to do so. The criminal empires built on moonshine and smuggling collapsed. Things got better once we stopped trying to force people to live up to the ideals of sobriety, as if it were ever possible to coerce someone to be a better person.

Re:What's funny is (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695724)

I wish someone would mod you down, only so I could mod you back up again. Bravo.

Point of fact: after prohibition ... (2)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695760)

Per capita alcohol consumption in the US went down.

I don't have a link for that, but I get my numbers from a chart I saw in a museum at Mt. Vernon. Alcohol consumption per capita was massive at the end of the 19th century, but through Prohibition it stayed flat and when Prohibition ended, it decreased.

My first guess would be that the vicarious thrill of being a law-breaker increased consumption. I suspect that something like that is also true of drug consumption in the US. Take away the thrill of eating the forbidden fruit and consumption may just well drop.

Re:What's funny is (1)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695808)

Comparing it to prohibition misses one giant point tho:

During prohibition noone made money fighting the smugglers and mafia.

Today the war on drugs is a huge industry with enormous momentum.

Smugglers using subs is an economic gift to the whole industry, now they get to dust off the old cold war sub defenses and sell them again.

Re:What's funny is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695498)

HA HA HA, you're so funny.
"this revenue stream to organised crime would be dramatically curtailed, and the combination of increased tax revenue and reduced enforcement costs would more than account for any predicted increase in addiction treatment costs"

What would happen, is that every idiot will start growing those weeds. When some of their clients start to die, politicians, with heavy lobbying from drug companies will try to make it restricted, so only they can sell it. Of course it's not even worth mentioning the amazing amount of funds needed to make this field safe for everyone. Hell, I don't know how you Americans would do it, but in most other countries, they'd add another department, next to Health, Education and Tourism ...

You'll have the same product, but much more expensive. There will still be deaths once in a while, but it's OK since it's government approved. And the illegal trade will still continue.

On a side note, see how gambling works out, legal in some places, illegal in others. Even in the legal places it can still become pretty dangerous. Unlike gambling, you CAN create a better treatment for addicts or addiction prevention, all you need is money to make the science happen.

Regardless what you believe, substance abuse is bad for you and those around you. You don't believe me? Hide your habit daily and let others make their decisions uninfluenced by you. You'll be surprised.

It is all about the money (5, Insightful)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695554)

I've been around rich people and around poor people. Almost without exception, the poor people have been more honest and a better class of people.

You are extremely naive if you don't think that a large percentage of the drug money isn't being laundered into the hands of the 'legitimate' people who run the government and wear three piece suites. That is why the drug trade is allowed to go on. It is making too many people too much money. If there was a real desire to shut down the trade, it could be shut down overnight. It would be nice if drugs were legalized, but i don't think it will happen as long as so many people are making so much money.

Think about it. The coast guard and the DEA are the drug runners best friends. Who else would artificially inflate the price of these plants. Likewise the DEA, and coast guard have to love the drug runners. Their jobs, and all the neat toys they get to play with are all purchased to fight this endless war on drugs.

When prohibition was finally lifted, it was the rum runners who came to power in the USA (Kennedy et. al) The ironic thing is that even when alcohol was legitimately taxed, it was still the rum runners who were making the money (Kennedy et. al). The only difference is the instead of the crooked individuals being gangsters they became politicians.

Re:It is all about the money (2)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695684)

I'm curious - do you have a source for the assertion that Kennedy was a rum runner?

Re:It is all about the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695726)

The story about Joe Kennedy being a rum-runner usually comes from his association with people who smuggled booze from Canada.

Plus, he bought up lots of stock in Dewars and Gordons during Prohibition and sold it soon after repeal for a huge profit.

I don't think you'll find much direct evidence of Joe Kennedy being a rum-runner. People at that level of wealth and power don't usually leave evidence if they break the law. If you're rich and powerful, you can profit from crime without actually getting your hands dirty

Re:It is all about the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695734)

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1918968,00.html

Re:What's funny is (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695582)

The price would still be astronomical, but if they were legal it'd be because of all the lawsuits people would bring due to all of the side effects of things like Cocaine or Meth or whatever / all the extra regulation that'd go into their manufacture. Mary Jane may be pretty much fine, but the bulk of the others are not just illegal; they're super bad for you in any kind of fun quantity. And right now they can be made in the bed of a pickup truck by a guy losing hair into the mix; it'd cost a tad more to make if you required even minimal things like "a building" and "hair nets".

I'd honestly bet that illegal drugs legalized and regulated would very likely cost the same or more as now.

It is not that hard to figure out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695606)

The crime syndicates obviously want the drug to STAY illegal, as that ensures their revenue stream...so they funnel their wealth through ostensibly legitimate fronts into anti-drug lobbyists coffers.

Also, legitimate pharmaceutical companies don't want competition from farmers who can grow cheap-and-easy plants with natural medicinal properties, so they lobby to keep them illegal as well.

And the sellers of legal recreational drugs (alcohol, tobacco, salvia, kava, etc) don't want any more competing products on the market.

There are probably others I haven't thought of. It just boils down to profit-protection, as usual.

And as always there are the overwhelmingly-popular batshit-insane religious groups who think that you can save a soul by making bad things illegal, and outright refuse to listen to rational argument.

Re:What's funny is (3, Interesting)

leathered (780018) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695418)

That would be the street price. The sub would transport high purity (>90%) coke, by the time it gets to the consumer it's usually around 10-15%.

However the authorities always grossly over-estimate the value of a haul. Looks good for their totals, and helps prosecutors secure higher sentences.

Re:What's funny is (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695804)

The Wikipedia article on Narco submarines, linked in the summary, estimates the construction cost of (older) semi-submersible craft at $2 million. They're scuttled after a one-way trip. If they're spotted by the Coast Guard, they're scuttled, with a complete loss of the cargo and (now) the arrest of the crew. They're spending enormous amounts of wealth on risky ventures, and have been doing so for some time. It seems reasonable to conclude that the profits are even more enormous..

Re:What's funny is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695448)

Isn't that $14k/lb? Who the heck is snorting it at that price?

No one. When they quote "street value" it assumes that the pure product imported is cut down and sold in very small quantities. If you're buying a pound of pure stuff, you're almost certainly paying significantly less than $14k.

But exaggerating to street value makes the drug problem sound bigger than it is and makes the accomplishments of law enforcement seem more impressive, so dollar amounts are always quoted that way.

Re:What's funny is (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695674)

You're right, that's outrageous. Aspirin (the low dose stuff they sell to people with heart and stroke problems) is only about $2000 / lb.

GREAT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695258)

i guess that's a sign of the economy, now they are smuggling the drugs to Mexico instead of from Mexico.

Re:GREAT! (1)

penguinboy (35085) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695394)

Two steps: Colombia to Mexico, Mexico to US.

Engineers required (4, Funny)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695266)

Sounds like the kind of thing that takes more than a few engineers to build. I wonder what toys they hand out at recruitment fairs?

Re:Engineers required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695398)

They pay well, value your skills, and let you work on fun & interesting projects. Ethics aside, it sounds like a good job.

Re:Engineers required (2)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695508)

They pay well, value your skills, and let you work on fun & interesting projects. Ethics aside, it sounds like a good job.

But the retirement plan sucks.

Re:Engineers required (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695586)

The guy in the article describes it a little differently. He ended up losing his family, becoming addicted to various substances and had a price on his head when he finally left.

That said, I wonder why they don't use smaller, simpler, unmanned subs. Making a submersible liveable for a crew of 6 seems like a whole lot of resource and engineering overhead when they can probably get a few people to bang out gps-only navigation. It's not like they don't have access to clever people to get the job done.

Re:Engineers required (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695694)

Well they arent true submarines. More like semi submersible boats. They cant dive underwater and operate at any real depth. They just wait right below the waterline and then surface and move under the cover of night.

Re:Engineers required (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695732)

Yeah the article said this one only had a maximum depth of 60ft, though it seems they'd be able to do better if they didn't have to make so much space for people, potable water, breathable air and handling, etc.

Re:Engineers required (1)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695700)

The guy in the article describes it a little differently. He ended up losing his family, becoming addicted to various substances and had a price on his head when he finally left.

That said, I wonder why they don't use smaller, simpler, unmanned subs. Making a submersible liveable for a crew of 6 seems like a whole lot of resource and engineering overhead when they can probably get a few people to bang out gps-only navigation. It's not like they don't have access to clever people to get the job done.

I don't know much about the drugs business, but I get the feeling they try to pack huge amounts of stuff in each shipment. Probably beats having loads of individual trucks, which one might use if one was in a legit business. The problem, of course, is you're betting a lot on each shipment going through. Can you imagine losing 250M worth of dope because something went wrong with the nav system? They probably want real people on board to make sure everything goes to plan, and in order to navigate the vagaries of illicit drug delivery. You know, stay submerged an extra day if you sniff trouble, that kind of thing. Also, you need real people doing the delivery in order to confirm receipt.

Another important thing to remember is the relative cost of labour vs capital. You can get a moderately cheap engineer plus some cheap guys from an impoverished background to sit on a boat, or you can get an expensive guy with a degree to build you an expensive piece of kit. I suppose the balance will tip for someone...

In principle though, I can see where you're coming from. I wouldn't be surprised if some drug baron hadn't already started trials with automated vessels.

Re:Engineers required (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695774)

Yeah obviously I don't know much about their business either, but I'd guess you're right, it's probably pretty cheap to put a few people on the boat that you don't care about, and can just threaten to kill their families if anything goes wrong.

I figure, in this completely hypothetical scenario, maybe you'd make a smaller, more sturdy submersible and tow it out to open water like the article talked about with those towable torpedos, and have a specific set of coordinates for destination at the other end. No doubt you'd have to have feet on the ground at the other end to confirm retrieval. Use a similar "emergency beacon" like they did with those towables, just in case something goes wrong... but normally you wouldn't want the device to broadcast anything.

This way, one would think, you can avoid the real hairy (shallow) areas that you need serious navigation intelligence for by only letting the gps nav operate in open water, you can dedicate more space to cargo, ditch the potable water and air handling equipment, and could send more of these less-expensive devices more frequently.

Seems like a no-brainer to me, but like you said, we're hardly experts on the subject of successful drug smuggling.

Re:Engineers required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695516)

Russians or North Koreans come first in mind. But you always can count on Gerard Bulls of the world for something like this.

Enough now (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695274)

Can we just fucking legalise and tax drugs, rather than let murderous druglords make billions off the black market? It 's a choice of two evils, but at least the corporations will pay tax.

I can't believe people think that if you pretend it doesn't happen it will go away. Let's fucking deal with it using scientific enquiry and logical, rational arguments related to economics and crime. Emotional appeals to 'the evil drugs' are a fucking waste of time. It's a shame that it is political suicide to even entertain ideas about legalisation, thanks to all the fuckwit voters out there. Mostly old people stuck in their conservative ways. I can't wait for these people to die off and we can start learning lessons from history and move forward as a species.

Re:Enough now (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695406)

at least the corporations will pay tax.

What if GE got into the drug trade?

Re:Enough now (0)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695476)

I hate taxation arguments, but I hate victimless crimes (that they are crimes, not the acts) even more. Not commonly discussed is the fact that employees of GE pay taxes, as do their vendors and customers.

Re:Enough now (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695486)

The victims are all the people and corporations who did pay taxes - including GE's own employees. It's a crime with an effect that's spread thinly over a huge number of people, but not a victimless crime.

Re:Enough now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695818)

Ge only didn't pay any taxes because it's finance division lots BILLIONS of dollars. When you lose money in America, you don't pay taxes. The GE not paying taxes this year thing is pure sensationalism and nothing more.

Re:Enough now (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695822)

I'd be all for eliminating rights of an individual to companies in leau of eliminating taxes on corporations so long as they don't hold over more than 5% of said companies value or $10 million whichever is higher for more than 5 years in a row. Re-invest or pay out dividends to investors... then nuke corporate tax structure. Would certainly make things more likely to see as taxable earnings from corporations...

Re:Enough now (1)

Evi1M4chine (2029370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695834)

Been there, done that.

Cheers,
Eli Lilly

Re:Enough now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695420)

> but at least the corporations will pay tax.

yeah...about that...

(CAPTCHA: iniquity)

Re:Enough now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695426)

but at least the corporations will pay tax.

Wait, the corporations will pay tax? This is huge! Did you just meant drug-based corporations, or will all companies actually start paying if we legalize this?

Re:Enough now (0)

Loopy (41728) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695482)

Agreed regarding drugs like extasy[sic]/pot and the other low-risk drugs. Re: the legalization of cocaine/heroine/meth, I might agree with you to a point but we have (here in the USofA) an administration that is:

* trying to ban "junk food" in schools and restaurants either through direct bans or by mandating expensive analysis and labeling

* saying that end-of-life decisions should be at least partially based on the costs to the health system as a whole

* have spent billions per year decrying the evils of Big Tobacco(tm) and its effects on the health care system

* spend billions per year investigating trace elements and how they affect public health in order to (among other things) reduce health care costs.

What makes anyone think that, considering the above, they would all of a sudden legalize substances that are known to cause catastrophic health/psychological problems in a significant portion of their users?

I mean, I'm all in favor of removing the warning labels on life and letting Darwinian evolution take its course (would sure as hell make manufacturing a lot cheaper) but I don't think the current hypocrites in charge of world governments would be willing to condemn their own ethics history. There are things we could do as a public that would largely mitigate any crime that could spring up from legalization of the harder drugs but the current panty-waists in charge of things would see it as too much power in the hands of individual citizens and, thus, surely pooh-pooh it as more dangerous than the problem it would solve.

Re:Enough now (4, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695616)

* trying to ban "junk food" in schools and restaurants either through direct bans or by mandating expensive analysis and labeling

Labeling is not a ban; and I'm unaware of any proposal to ban kids from bringing potato chips in with theit bag lunches, only for the government to improve the quality of the food it provides in school cafeterias.

* saying that end-of-life decisions should be at least partially based on the costs to the health system as a whole

It's called medical ethics. If for $X you can either save 1,000 kids, or drag out the death of a 95-year-old for one painful week, yes, that should be a consideration in making end-of-life decisions.

* have spent billions per year decrying the evils of Big Tobacco(tm) and its effects on the health care system

What are you talking about? Are you somehow referring to health education and anti-smoking campaigns? Fates forfend that we educate people about how to take care of their health.

* spend billions per year investigating trace elements and how they affect public health in order to (among other things) reduce health care costs.

OMG you mean they're spending money on health science research? Those bastards!

I mean, I'm all in favor of removing the warning labels on life and letting Darwinian evolution take its course

It's funny how often I hear that sentiment from those who would be first up against the wall of natural selection if such a revolution came.

Re:Enough now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695544)

I really don't have an issue with marijuana, given that it's not particularly dangerous. But I think we're seeing public attitude to that has been seriously relaxed already... arguably because folks agree on its relative safety.

The issue gets infinitely more complicated when you're talking about far more dangerous drugs. No politician wants to put a stamp of approval on the production and consumption of dangerous drugs, because no politician's constituents wants them to. To address the bit about reducing the violence and crime surrounding a genuinely dangerous material that "everyday joe" wants, you'd have to make it available to everyone. Otherwise it's still just a controlled substance, which means you haven't dealt with criminal circumvention and all the ills that come with it.

tldr; Making a genuinely dangerous drug freely available is a show-stopper... and I don't see that ever changing. Not for any nefarious reasons, but because it's a no-win for everyone.

legalize it (5, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695290)

Can you imagine how bad the cartels would be hurting if this stuff got legalized? You'd better believe they'd be buying up senators left and right to keep it banned.

Re:legalize it (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695372)

As violent as the drug trade is now, think how much more violent it would become as the market for illicit drugs shrinks. Your average cartel foot soldier is uneducated and comes from poor areas. He isn't going to want to go back to the old neighborhood and make a couple of bucks a month when he is now used to making a couple thousand. These guys have money, power, and status. When these things are threatened, people will go to extraordinary lengths to keep it. Think Iraq 2003. You have a bunch of guys with guns who no longer have a job or the status that came with it. Legalize drugs and these guys won't go legit; the profit margins would be way too small with all the fees, licenses, and import duties. They will start fighting over what little drug trade is left, and it will be ten times as violent as it is now if we are lucky.

Re:legalize it (5, Insightful)

RebelWithoutAClue (578771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695392)

The increase in violence, if any, will be temporary. People won't continue fighting if there isn't that much money to be made.

Re:legalize it (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695490)

Just because someone bad doesn't like something, doesn't mean it's a good thing.

It's too late (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695780)

The cartels already have the capital. If drugs get legalized, they'll just move more heavily into kidnapping and slavery.

Same thing as after Prohibition, organized crime just moved into other territories. There is no way to turn back the clock and prevent the cartels from coming to power in the first place.

Not that this is an argument against legalization, mind you. It's just the observation that one particular argument for legalization doesn't hold that much weight.

Why not legalize coke? (4, Interesting)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695296)

This should be motive enough to legalize some drugs or at least restrict sales such that it would stop the South Americans from shipping coke to the US.

Once naval and intelligence experts become concerned of the sub building capabilities and detection of these subs it acknowledges that this poses a risk to US security. I read earlier articles that indicated ex-Russian sub designers were being hired by the Cartels to build their sub.

I don't think there's any major worry of these subs being virtually undetectable like the current American subs or carrying nukes or torpedoes but I think there might be a concern that some of these people would go to work for some other country at some point. Hell, if they're building these kinds of subs in the jungle, I'd be concerned about what they can do if they don't have to be so conspicuous.

Re:Why not legalize coke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695410)

You said it, brother. If you want to be conspicuous, do whatever you do in the jungle. =)

Re:Why not legalize coke? (1)

johnny boy (129702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695472)

...I'd be concerned about what they can do if they don't have to be so conspicuous.

inconspicuous - Not clearly visible or attracting attention; not conspicuous.

IHBT?

sounds like a good movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695336)

"The Hunt for Green April"

Next step: drone boats (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695342)

I've been building autonomous vessels since 2004 and the very first potential customer was a guy who wanted to smuggle weed and cigs from Switzerland to Italy with one. Had to wait a few months for an actual legit customer and I get that sort of call/email twice a year on average. I could've made a lot of money, but eh.

Technical question (2)

jamrock (863246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695356)

GPS chart plotter with side-scan capabilities

I've heard of side-scan radar and side-scan sonar. What the fuck is side-scan GPS? Wouldn't the vessel have to be on the surface to receive a GPS signal, or if submerged, extend some sort of antenna above the ocean surface? What in the name of Cthulhu are they scanning laterally for? Does the US Navy have a secret GPS constellation that orbits underwater or something? Methinks the writer studied journalism at the University of Make Shit Up.

Re:Technical question (3, Informative)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695400)

My guess would be that the writer is clueless and easily impressed by something like this:
http://www.premierfishing.co.uk/humminbird---1198cx-si-combo---side-scan-sonar--gps-436-p.asp [premierfishing.co.uk]

Leave out the world sonar and there you have it... side-scan GPS.

Re:Technical question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695414)

Well it's likely a GPS chart plotter with integrated sonar. Pretty common these days for sailing.

Re:Technical question (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695424)

Believe it or not, but submarines can and do surface... in fact they spend most of their time on or just below the surface. I'm assuming that's when they use stuff like GPS or periscopes that can't be used at depths.

Re:Technical question (1)

jamrock (863246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695462)

I'm aware that diesel-electric subs only spend a fraction of their patrol actually submerged, and of course, they could use GPS while on the surface. I'm just wondering what the hell the writer was talking about. If he had made clear, like Anonymous Coward did, that chart plotters with integrated sonar are widely used, he could have saved me a headache, and I wouldn't have had to dip into my snark reserves.

Re:Technical question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695456)

Many commercial nautical GPS systems have the ability to connect other systems (like sonar and radar) to the chart plotter, so you can do overlays on top of the GPS position data.

DG

Re:Technical question (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695572)

My guess is he was talking about sonar, and that it also has gps navigation. The article said this particular sub had a maximum depth of 60ft, meaning it operates pretty close to the surface, so maybe they can read at very shallow depths? Or at the very least, surface briefly and occasionally to get their bearings.

Re:Technical question (1)

Daley_G (1592515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695744)

Methinks the writer studied journalism at the University of Make Shit Up.

What journalist didn't? That's why they get along so well with politicians - the folks who teach those classes!

Interesting, sure, but (1)

Mabbo (1337229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695376)

Wake me up when they're delivering drugs via spaceships. Then I will be impressed.

Re:Interesting, sure, but (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695494)

Roswell isn't too far from the US-Mexico border.

Just sayin'.

Re:Interesting, sure, but (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695510)

I wouldn't be surprised if payloads were already being delivered by rocket, rockets are cheap to build and can have a few keys of payload. A guided rocket with a parachute can even be reused.

Re:Interesting, sure, but (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695566)

How about drugs via avian carrier [livingnorthofsouth.com] ? :)

Who would have thought (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695378)

that when you restricts something its value sky rockets and make people rich by dealing in that item. Mind you the DEA and company probably rake in more money then the cartels so there's no reason to make that item legal.

Encourage a black market -- help terrorists. (2)

Nailer235 (1822054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695388)

By having these drug laws, we provide incentive for criminals to circumvent them. It's no surprise that these drug rings have used more sophisticated methods to smuggle their products into the U.S. The more we ramp up "protecting" our population from drugs, the more drug lords ramp up their methods of importing drugs. Now that these methods exist, there's no reason why terrorists can't use it to piggyback dangerous devices. In summary, add another "+1" to the long list of negatives stemming from our War on Drugs.

Re:Encourage a black market -- help terrorists. (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695670)

By having these drug laws, we provide incentive for criminals to circumvent them.

By having these murder laws, we provide incentive for criminals to circumvent them. Just think of how much money we would save by legalizing murder. It costs several million dollars from the time you catch a murderer till you execute them. Just think how much a state could save by just making murder legal. You could even make income by requiring them to buy a tag, like they do with deer hunters. In summary, add another "+1" to the long list of negatives stemming from our War on murderers.

Re:Encourage a black market -- help terrorists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695792)

By having these drug laws, we provide incentive for criminals to circumvent them.

By having these murder laws, we provide incentive for criminals to circumvent them. Just think of how much money we would save by legalizing murder. It costs several million dollars from the time you catch a murderer till you execute them. Just think how much a state could save by just making murder legal. You could even make income by requiring them to buy a tag, like they do with deer hunters. In summary, add another "+1" to the long list of negatives stemming from our War on murderers.

Way to take a statement completely out of context. Great job.

Acoustic Signatures (3, Interesting)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695412)

You can bet the USN & CIA detection equipment from sea floor mounted sensors will be able to pick up the known propulsion signatures.

Sounds transmit underwater for very long distances which will limit the number of sensors particularly if "well placed" at known transit spots.

It won't be long before they can pretty much find, follow and intercept as they wish.

Re:Acoustic Signatures (3, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695504)

Don't forget about the P-3 Orion. These were designed and built to track and sink Soviet subs during the Cold War. Now, the Soviets had some pretty noisy boats, especially their diesels, but these things have to be just as noisy as they were. DHS already has several P-3s, and the Navy still has well over 100. They can loiter on station for hours and could easily detect these subs on the surface with radar/sonar and underwater with sonar. The article says it's hard to detect with sonar because of the Kevlar/carbon-fiber used to make it, but I would assume that passive sonar can easily pick up the screw noise. Recent events in Libya have shown that P-3s can engage and hit targets as small as 100ft with ASMs. I'd imagine on the surface these subs would have at least 50ft above water. And if not, they can always just drop a torpedo. However, I'd say it is more likely that they'd work in tandem with a Coast Guard cutter or a Navy ship and would send them to interdict the sub. The article says the batteries can let it stay submerged for up to 18 hours without recharging(which subs have to surface to recharge), but I wonder if it can really stay under for that long, or if it would have to surface sooner to vent air.

Re:Acoustic Signatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695514)

Except for the CIA using drug money to fund covert operations and everything. The "Company" is in on it man, they probably provide the contacts to the Russian sub designers.

Re:Acoustic Signatures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695614)

[citation needed]

Re:Acoustic Signatures (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695532)

It won't be long before the DEA, DHS, and the FBI all argue for their own independent submarine fleets before congress and get them.

Re:Acoustic Signatures (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695560)

These subs travel to close to the surface for those methods to work.

What's the difference between a surface vessel that goes 20 feet under water, and a sub traveling 20 feet under water?

Sonar can't tell you.

Re:Acoustic Signatures (1)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695618)

Hence the mention of propulsion signatures.

is this not a dupe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695492)

I could swear I saw an article on slashdot from no longer than a year ago about this.

i am for the legalization of marijuana (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695548)

i think psd, psilocybin, peyote, etc: they should be legal too, as they are not addictive. although use is very dangerous (walk out a window, etc.)

i am not for the legalization of meth, coke, heroin

yes, i am aware of all the prohibition type problems associated with these drugs being outlawed: empowered mafia, alienated users, etc.

the problem is, by my determination, legalization will result in a larger number of users. this problem, in my mind, is more potent than all the bad side effects of prohibition. so prohibition should continue, with highly addictive drugs

those who are for legalizing everything seem to conveniently forget that the addictive potential of some drugs. look: people have problems. people always have problems: career, money, reliationships, etc. this causes pain. the solution to those problems is never to turn to substance abuse, and yet people always turn to substance abuse, to blot out reality and the pain of it. of course, you add addiction, and now you've just created more problems. its an attempt at escapism that results in being more trapped. so some people, by saying the highly addictive substances should be legalized, seem to be content saying that an entire subclass of humanity should effectively be denied the right to free will. because what is most certain about the relationship between drug addiction and freedom to me, is that no government ever existed that can rob you of freedom the way drug addiction does. in fact, imagine the most orwellian government possible, and it will be a government that uses highly addictive drugs to control the masses. highly addictive drugs are the greatest enemy to freedom in the history of the world. if you don't understand this, you understand nothing

in other words, when it comes to highly addictive substances, i am for continued outlawing, in the name of freedom. because highly addictive substances, let loos eupon society, will entrap countless lives. the drug does it

i expect anyone who responds to this comment to conveniently forget, marginalize, or belittle the powerful addictive properties of substances like meth, heroin, coke. typical. and wrong

Re:i am for the legalization of marijuana (4, Interesting)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695698)

So, in your view, you prefer to COMBINE the effects of the "highly addictive substances" which "entrap lives" with all the side-effects of prohibition, since the prohibition has no chance of actually working in practice because in order to be effective, the counter measures require essentially a totalitarian police state apparatus to be erected, which also presents additional power concentration and profit opportunities for the "authorities" - see also: private prisons etc, not to mention dispensing with all of these inconvenient civil liberties and personal freedoms, Habeas Corpus and the like hindrances for the Holy Crusaders of Anti-Addiction.

So if you are intellectually honest with us, you also advocate a complete Big Brother 24/7/365 all-encompassing surveillance totalitarianism, since it is the only possible scenario under which the supposed "benefits" (i.e. no addicts) of the prohibition could ever be realized. That is, of course, if you are a believer in totalitarian police states and think Orwell's 1984 was an instruction manual.

All to "save us" from ourselves.

No?

Re:i am for the legalization of marijuana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695788)

Both marijuana and alcohol are highly addictive to certain people, and people have tried coke a few times and never got addicted. You can't just say "these drugs are too addictive", because it's not that simple. Lots of people are life-long smokers and drinkers, who get diseases and die because they were too addicted to care about the consequences.

Also, you're enforcing your morals on someone else when you tell them they can't abuse substances to deal with pain. If my dog dies today, I can go buy some alcohol and drink myself to sleep. You could tell me I shouldn't do that, but I don't live by your morals. If instead of alcohol, I decide I want heroin, then how could you telling me that I can't have any, be any different than you telling me I can't drink myself into a stupor and die from alcohol poisoning?

I expect anyone who responds to this comment to have a simple and generalized grasp on the concept of addiction, and to conveniently forget that people die from legal drugs that they personally find to be too addictive to quit before the consequences kill them.

Re:i am for the legalization of marijuana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695812)

Many years ago, all drugs were legal. Can you provide the evidence than any ancient civilization declined due to massive rampant drug use? Now, look how many declined due to going bankrupt. Do the math.

The enforcer is always right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695552)

If you cave in to the pressures of cartels and legalize drugs, the next step is giving in to terrorists and mandating Islamic law.

Look at Rosa Parks, we caved in for her and it's been a slippery slope ever since.

As long as drugs are outlawed ... (2, Insightful)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695598)

Outlaws are going to become fucking billionaires. They are going to spend a lot of that money arming their own private armies. Thousands of innocent people will be slaughtered and displaced.

indigenous world rejoices on teepeeleaks etchings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695600)

as the world+dog seems relieved/hopeful to know the truth, the chosen ones & royals continue to deny the very existence of any of us.

Wait a moment... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695612)

Can we just fucking legalise and tax drugs, rather than let murderous druglords make billions off the black market? It 's a choice of two evils, but at least the corporations will pay tax.

Hold the phone... Now I may of only had a past selling cannabis, and smuggling hash, but I "always" paid my taxes. Twice in the case of Massachusetts when I would buy the "Drug Stamps", and again when I paid my taxes -state and federal- as one normally would. Then I would donate to my local schools.

I may of risked prison, broken the law, and (insert paranoia jokes here) always waiting for the day I would be busted. But you "never" fuck with the IRS. Because while the DEA may not catch on, the IRS will truly fuck you up.

Last I checked, with the famed Dutch-Irish sandwich, most corporations don't really pay all that much tax.

Imagine (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35695704)

Imagine what would happen if the moon were made of cocaine. We would already have extremely cheap spacecraft making daily trips to the moon and back, carrying tons of moon rocks. It wouldn't take long for our satellite to disappear from our skies into our noses.

Perfected? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35695740)

"Authorities have captured a 74-foot camouflaged submarine."

Something tells me it's not quite perfect yet.

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