GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Authorities in the South American country of Guyana have discovered a rudimentary submarine they believe was going to be used to ferry drugs across the Atlantic, police said Friday.
The submarine is 65 feet (20 meters) long, 12 feet (4 meters) wide and seven feet (two meters) deep, and it was powered by a huge diesel engine, according to anti-narcotics unit director James Singh.
"It is the first time we have discovered a submarine on the Atlantic side and this is startling," he told The Associated Press. "This seems to be a huge operation by groups which are setting up shop here."
Singh said the submarine was found in Guyana's northwest coastal Waini Region near the border with Venezuela. He said he believes it was locally built and that it could have been headed to Europe or Africa.
No one has been arrested.
The U.S. government has long said Guyana is a major transshipment point for drugs headed to the U.S. and has accused local authorities of not doing enough to fight the trade and money laundering.
U.S. officials expect to soon open a Drug Enforcement Administration office in Guyana. A DEA spokesman did not return messages for comment.