Coast Guard intercepts cocaine smuggling submarine on its way to the US, carrying 12,800 pounds of coke, with street value of $200 million.
A Bay Area Coast Guard crew busted a group of smugglers piloting a covert submarine loaded with 6 tons of cocaine through the open waters off the coast of Central America, officials said Monday.
Four suspected transnational criminal drug runners were aboard the blow-laden submersible on March 3 about 300 miles southwest of Panama when the boat was spotted cruising just below the ocean surface.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection airplane spotted the vessel and scrambled two interceptor boats with the crew from Alameda, Lt. Donnie Brzuska said.
Once on board, the Coast Guard team found 12,800 pounds of coke with an estimated street value of over $200 million along with a loaded gun in the cockpit. The suspected smugglers were apprehended without incident. The Coast Guard released video of the dramatic open-ocean raid, showing armed officers storming the simplistic craft.
The boat, a self-propelled semi-submersible, is one of scores of makeshift vessels that glide just below the ocean surface to smuggle drugs into the United States. The Coast Guard busted a similar boat southwest of the Mexican-Guatemalan border in January.
Last year the Coast Guard seized more than 319,000 pounds of cocaine from semi-submersible boats and so far this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, the agency has taken more than 200,000 pounds of drugs from such boats, officials said.
(Via San Francisco Chronicle)
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