Boat Maker of Choice for Drug Smugglers Now Marketing to Cops

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by jacquejet, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. jacquejet

    jacquejet

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    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/4342162.html

    Cigarette Racing Team this week announced that it will be marketing high-end speedboats to military and law enforcement customers. A release from the company says that the their signature boat is "long-known for its commanding visual appeal and underlying sexuality" but neglects to mention its past as the preferred vehicle for drug smugglers who want to outrun law enforcement helicopters and ships.

    A cigarette boat is a slender, fiberglass vessel that is built for small crews and high speeds. The "go-fast" design—which raised the bar for the maximum performance of speedboats—was the brainchild of professional racer Donald Aronow in the 1960s. By the early 1980s he was rich and his boats were legendary, both for breaking speed records and for breaking laws in the Florida Keys as Colombian cocaine smugglers used the speedboats to flee from Coast Guard and other law enforcement officials. Aronow got a multimillion-dollar contract to build an equally quick boat called the Blue Thunder for U.S. Customs agents, but the program ran into problems in 1983 when he sold his business to a man reputed to have drug ties. Aronow bought the company back in 1984, and revived the Blue Thunder order. He was eventually gunned down in the streets of Miami in 1987, allegedly by criminals hired by the short-time, drug-affiliated owner.

    Aronow is gone, but his amazing boats remain. He is viewed as a legendary craftsman who revolutionized powerboat racing. But the illicit go-fast boats he invented remain an active method for smugglers to sneak contraband into the United States. The problem got so bad that the Coast Guard started arming marksmen in their helicopters with .50-caliber rifles that could blast the speedboats' engines. Unmanned aircraft and helicopters are also being developed and deployed to spot the lean-hulled boats as they zip into south Florida.

    Now, harkening back to the days of Blue Thunder, the Cigarette Racing Team is adapting its 39-foot Top Fish for law enforcement and military duties. The designers installed shock-absorbing seats that were designed for Navy SEAL delivery boats that prevent back injuries while on long trips or over rough water. An all-digital cockpit wraps around the instruments for ideal visibility during missions. According to company officials, the adapted boat was not made for a single program. "Cigarette is pleased to be in strong contention for some upcoming contracts," says Skip Braver, Cigarette Racing Team's president. "This boat demonstrates Cigarette's diversity and ability to respond to the market."

    But don't be surprised if the Military 39 cigarette boat appears in fleets of governments other than the United States. A recent Miami Herald article stated that the company is finding more success in international marketing, with sales to other nations accounting for 30 percent of all its sales last year.
     
  2. obxemt

    obxemt Chaplain of CT

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    I'd be happy with a 28-foot center console with a couple 250 Yamahas.

    [​IMG]
     

  3. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    I just want a nice party pontoon boat with lots of cold beer and hot... ummm... tamales.
     
  4. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

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    According to the excellent book "The Cocaine Wars" published in the late 80s, the reason Blue Thunder didn't succeed was because agents weren't willing to take the risks that smugglers were - running at high speed into shallow water, often with submerged obstacles, that could ground or destroy a boat. Smugglers didn't care and would take the chance - they didn't plan on living a long life anyway, so why not run the boat at 60 MPH up a shallow inlet?
     
  5. kpuscg04

    kpuscg04 ACTA NON VERBA

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    Speed is nice, but its not what ends a chase. Its very rare that these boats get to their tops speeds due to the sea state on the water.

    These end chases (see pic, CG SPC-LE). Custom's will tell you their boats are faster, and they are on flat *** calm water, but this boat will turn circles around anything on the water. Its like dogfighting, tightest turn wins. Throw in a couple 12-Gauge Copper Sabot slugs for the smuggler's engines and we're good to go.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

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    The HITRON helicopters are probably better than a boat for interception, anyway. They can see a hell of a lot farther and can put themselves right overhead for a shorter-range shot.
     
  7. Glock-it-to-me

    Glock-it-to-me Catching liars

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    Elton Carey (nice guy RIP) helped design the first Cigarette boat. For a time Carey's own boats were used because they were 50 feet long and could haul a large payload at great speed.

    When Jack DeVoe was plying his trade, he used planes. He owned an airline charter service that specialized in charters to South America. His electronics were better than the governments in avoiding detection.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  8. kpuscg04

    kpuscg04 ACTA NON VERBA

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    HITRON is great, and we've expanded that capability to more than just that single unit because of its success, but its also very expensive. I can lot a lot of Safeboat SPC-LE's for the price of one MH65C Dolphin.


    Oh, and the whole reason Cigarette is getting into this market is because of the success Safeboat has had. Safeboat was a no name company that wasn't going anywhere until they won the CG contract for our RB-S (smaller version of the picture I have above). After that they became THE company for LE/Military small watercraft. Its a deserved reputation, I have had nothing but great experiences with the Safeboats I have worked with.
     
  9. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    Engines? I'd recommend throwing the sabots at the smugglers' craniums... or at least COM.
     
  10. kpuscg04

    kpuscg04 ACTA NON VERBA

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    I believe that is "legally sticky", but I hear ya...