SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KTVU) - The U.S. Coast Guard stopped a submarine carrying 16,000 pounds of cocaine off the coast of South America, part of a $569 million drug bust, officials said Thursday.
A semi-submersible was navigating through the waters when a member of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro leaped onto the partially submerged vessel as it was moving and broke open the hatch.
.@VP is welcoming back the crew of CG Cutter Munro as they turn over 39K lbs of cocaine from drug seizures like this one from a semi-submersible off South America to federal agents. We will be live-streaming the offload on Facebook in a few hours. More: https://t.co/5eQRbQpxw5 pic.twitter.com/9bMRorDC4I— U.S. Coast Guard (@USCG) July 11, 2019
Semi-submersible vessels often referred to as "narco-submarines" are sometimes used by traffickers to smuggle narcotics into other countries, The Maritime Executive wrote.
"The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys in districts across the nation," the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The submarine was one of 14 separate drug smuggling vessels intercepted off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America between May and July 2019.
A total of 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana— worth a combined estimated $569 million, was seized during that time.