U.S. Coast Guard Interdicts Self-Propelled Semi-Submersible Carrying 12,000 Pounds of Cocaine Worth Over $165m in Eastern Pacific
September 25: The U.S. Coast Guard stopped a “narco sub” carrying 12,000 pounds of cocaine, worth over $165 million, earlier this month in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, working with the Colombian Navy, carried out the stop and seizure, which also led to the apprehension of four suspected drug smugglers on board, according to a USCG press release. Of the 12,000 pounds of cocaine on board, just over 1,100 pounds were recovered and offloaded as the rest “could not be safely extracted due to stability concerns of the vessel.”
The Valiant was alerted to the 40-foot self-propelled semi-submersible by a maritime patrol aircraft. After receiving orders to intercept the sub, the Valiant sent out two teams to board the sub. The mission began a little after sunset and was completed by the following morning.
“There are no words to describe the feeling Valiant crew is experiencing right now,” said the Valiant’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Matthew Waldron. “In a 24-hour period, the crew both crossed the equator and intercepted a drug-laden self-propelled semi-submersible vessel. Each in and of themselves is momentous events in any cutterman’s career.”
The Valiant’s “narco sub” bust is just one of many successful drug seizures the Coast Guard has carried out recently. According to a video clip on the Coast Guard’s Twitter, the Coast Guard has removed over 150 metric tons of cocaine worth about $4.4 billion dollars in fiscal year 2019. Submersible boats have become popular among cocaine smugglers, and were favored by former Sinaloa Cartel chief Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is currently serving life in prison in the United States.