The United States Coast Guard intercepted a cocaine-laden, self-propelled submarine in Eastern Pacific International waters, according to a statement by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
The semi-submersible was detected by a maritime patrol aircraft on a routine patrol after sunset. It was carrying nearly 12,000 pounds of cocaine, worth $165 million.
“The #Florida @USCG Cutter Valiant took down a narco sub carrying 12k lbs of cocaine in the #EasternPacific, cutting approximately $165 mil from smuggler pockets,” said USCG South East on Twitter.
The “interdiction” coincided with the seafaring tradition of crossing the equator, and this catch is doubly special for the ship’s patrol.
“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,” said Cmdr. Matthew Waldron, Valiant’s Commanding Officer in the statement.
“Taken together, however, it is truly remarkably unprecedented. This interdiction was an all-hands-on-deck evolution, and each crew member performed above and beyond the call of duty,” he said.
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) September 24, 2019
The coast guard offloaded over 1,100 pounds of cocaine during the operations. The remainder could not be taken off due to stability concerns of the vessel, said the Department of Homeland Security.
Colombian Naval assets arrived on the scene shortly after the interception and assisted the coast guard in completing the law enforcement procedures.
“The joint boarding successfully stopped a drug smuggling vessel and also strengthened international relations and communications between the two partner nations,” said the statement.
The Coast Guard also thanked their families who were recently impacted by the hurricane Dorian.
“We could not have successfully completed this interdiction without the love and support of our families back home, many of whom evacuated from Jacksonville this week for Hurricane Dorian. To the Valiant families, a heartfelt ‘Thank You!” said Waldron.
Around 12,000 Pounds of Cocaine Seized in Eight Separate Cases
In eight recent cases of drug interdiction, the Coast Guard seized more than 12,000 pounds of cocaine.
The narcotics were seized and recovered in international waters off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America, according to a USCG statement released on Sept. 20.
The cutter Seneca was responsible for two cases, seizing approximately 2,800 pounds of cocaine.
The Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma (WMEC-908) was responsible for three interdictions seizing approximately 2,500 pounds of cocaine.
The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL-757) was responsible for two cases, seizing approximately 5,700 pounds of cocaine.
The Coast Guard Cutter Valiant (WMEC-621) was responsible for one case, seizing approximately 1,000 pounds of cocaine.
“These operations enable us to; extend our maritime borders; weaken the economic engine of Transnational Criminal Organizations; contribute to enhancing stability and security across our partner nations within Central America, and they combat the drug epidemic within our local communities,” said Cmdr. John Christensen, commanding officer of the cutter Seneca in the statement.
The crew of the @USCG Cutter Seneca offloaded more than 12,000 pounds of cocaine at USCG Sector Miami.
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) September 20, 2019
“I am exceptionally proud of this crew. Over the course of the last three months, they rose above the challenges of conducting operations at sea, persevered through many personal sacrifices and showed an unwavering dedication to serving our nation,” Christensen said.