US Coast Guard seizes US$181 mil. of cocaine from submarine-like craft
The U.S. Coast Guard said it has seized US$181 million worth of cocaine from a submarinelike vessel in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but even more drugs sank during the bust.
The Coast Guard seized 5,400 kilograms of cocaine from four smugglers on a semi-submersible ship, the agency said Wednesday.
The vessel, which was first spotted about 320 kilometers (200 miles) south of Mexico, was carrying a total of 7,200 kilograms of narcotics, but as the ship was being towed, it took on water and sank. Some 1,800 kilograms of narcotics were lost in the process.
The seizure, which took place on July 18, was the “largest recorded semi-submersible interdiction in Coast Guard history,” according to the agency.
The 12- meter vessel was deemed “unrecoverable” after it sank.
The Coast Guard said there have been 25 known interdictions of semi-submersible vessels in the eastern Pacific Ocean since November 2006.
“Every interception of these semi- submersibles disrupts transnational organized crime networks and helps increase security and stability in the Western Hemisphere,” Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray, commander of the Pacific area, said in a statement.
Semi- submersible ships are designed for drug trafficking, and because they are mostly submerged — often with only a cockpit and exhaust pipe visible above water — they are particularly difficult to detect and interdict, the Coast Guard said.
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