Newsroom: Press Releases
Lautenberg Introduces Bill To Stop Illegal Drug Smuggling Aboard Elusive, Low-Cost Submarines
Bill to Aid U.S. Coast Guard in Preventing Illegal Drug Shipments to the U.S.
Lautenberg Press Office 202.224.3224
Wednesday, July 09,
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) has introduced bipartisan legislation to aid the U.S. Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies in the fight against illegal drug and weapons smuggling by making the operation of unregistered submarines unlawful.
These low-profile ships sit just below the top of the water and have become an innovative and preferable method of transport for smuggling drugs and other illegal substances into the country. Such ships can travel approximately 2,000 miles while going at speeds faster than six knots. They can measure up to 80 feet in length, and can carry up to 12 metric tons of cargo.
Federal drug interdiction agencies believe these submarines are responsible for one-third of all maritime cocaine shipments between the Americas, and that figure is increasing. It is projected that they will account for 480 metric tons of cocaine shipped in Fiscal Year 2009.
“Too many unregistered ships bring illegal drugs to our shores and our neighborhoods. Our bill will close this loophole and help prevent the overseas trafficking of illegal drugs, weapons and other dangerous contraband,” Sen. Lautenberg said. “Our legislation will provide an essential tool for law enforcement officers to prevent this illegal smuggling.”
Federal law enforcement authorities are urgently seeking the enactment of legislation, like Sen. Lautenberg’s bill (S. 3198), to criminalize operating these unregistered ships on an international voyage.
Sen. Lautenberg serves as chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, which has jurisdiction over maritime transportation standards and security.
# # #
Return to Press Releases