Brazilian police seize drug-smuggling sub

Sao Paulo, Dec 18 (EFE).- Police in the northeastern Brazilian state of Para seized a small submarine that was being prepared to carry cocaine to the U.S. or Europe, authorities said Friday.

The sub was "practically ready" and would have set out within 10 days with a shipment of cocaine from neighboring Colombia, a state police officer told EFE.

Police found the submarine in the Guajara-Mirim River, near a fishing settlement in the Atlantic Coast municipality of Vigia de Nazare.

Investigators say the construction of the vessel was financed by Colombian drug traffickers.

At nearly 17 meters (56 feet) long, 4 meters (13 feet) high and 3 meters (9.8 feet) wide, the sub is big enough to accommodate up to 30 tons of cargo and 30 people.

The smugglers, according to police, arrived in the area in September and erected a pair of wooden structures on the riverbank to serve as a base of operations. Brandishing fake guns, the criminals kept residents away from their usual fishing grounds.

Authorities detected the submarine on Tuesday after receiving several anonymous telephone tips about the presence of the vessel.

The sub is to be towed on Saturday to police headquarters in the port of Belem, Para's capital.