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Cocaine-laden sub seized off Mexico

July 17, 2008|Marla Dickerson | Times Staff Writer

MEXICO CITY — The nation's drug wars sank to new depths Wednesday as the Mexican navy announced it had seized a submarine that was transporting cocaine off the southern coast.

The navy intercepted the 33-foot vessel about 125 miles south of Puerto de Salina Cruz in Oaxaca state.

Jose Luis Vergara, a navy spokesman, said in a radio interview that special forces waited until the vessel surfaced before rappelling from helicopters and overpowering the four-man crew.

Vergara called the submarine bust unprecedented for the navy.

"There were a lot of packages," he said. "It appears to be cocaine."

The navy provided no information on the identities or nationalities of the suspects.

Colombian authorities have captured more than a dozen such vessels over the last couple of years.

Law enforcement experts say the homemade subs are becoming ever more sophisticated.

Meanwhile, Mexico's drug wars claimed another high-ranking law enforcement official.

Salomon Diaz, a Sinaloa state police commander, was shot dead by suspected drug gang hit men in the troubled western state, where more than 300 people have died in drug-related violence this year.

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marla.dickerson@latimes.com

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