In addition to helping countries defend themselves against attacks from hostile neighbors, unmanned vehicle technology is being used to transport everything from food and medication. Smugglers of illegal substances can take use of drones’ benefits now that they’re available over the counter.
Last year, we told you about a drug-smuggling drone with five engines that could fly for seven hours straight. In the year following the seizure of the drone, authorities discovered a new method of conveying drugs by water, which was also discovered by the Spanish National Police.
The smuggling trade is concentrated in Spain for a number of reasons.
According to a BBC article, due to its proximity to Morocco, one of the world’s major cannabis growers, Spain has become a point of entry for illegal drugs into Europe. Nine miles (15 kilometers) separate the two countries’ closest points on two distinct continents. These two sites are separated by the Strait of Gibraltar, which is a short distance to travel. In April of last year, police nabbed 100 members of a drug smuggling group who were using speedboats to transport the drugs.
👉1ª vez que se intervienen vehículos que operan bajo el agua sin tripulación a bordo pic.twitter.com/P81cRwjIVx
— Policía Nacional (@policia) July 4, 2022
Spain shares cultural ties with a number of countries in South America that are active in the manufacture of cocaine. A trans-Atlantic cocaine smuggling ring that used homemade semi-submersible boats called “narcosubmarines” to transport €123 million (US$126.8 million) worth of cocaine from Brazil was convicted earlier this year, as reported by The Guardian.
The underwater drones for smuggling
There were three unmanned watercraft this time around, each capable of transporting 440 pounds (220 kg) of cocaine across the Strait. It was just one of these ships that was completed when the authorities seized the other two. They were to be turned over to drug dealers in France, a statement said.
It was discovered during the 14-month investigation conducted in collaboration with the French police that the gang’s members scattered over Cádiz, Málaga, and Barcelona were giving logistical support to clients in countries including Italy, Denmark, and France In addition to fabricating false boat bottoms and concealed storage compartments for automobiles and trailers, the gang was also developing marine drones. Additionally, six aerial drones, each capable of flying over 18 miles (30 kilometers) and carrying weights of up to 440 pounds, were seized by the authorities (200 kg).
More than 320 pounds of hashish (145 kilograms) and eight kilograms of marijuana were also seized during the arrests by the Spanish National Police.