U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Navy personnel intercepted a mini-submarine off the coast of Central America that was carrying $200 million worth of cocaine.
On March 3rd, authorities arrested the four men operating the semi-submersible vessel and seized more than 12,800 pounds of cocaine, 300 miles southwest of Panama in the Pacific Ocean.
The seizure is part of the agency’s patrol of an area greater than 42-million-square-miles in the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.
Last August, authorities made a similarly large bust of a submarine carrying 12,000 pounds of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific, AP reports.
In the fiscal year 2015, the agency confiscated more than 200,000 pounds of cocaine across 198 seizures as a part of Operation Martillo (Hammer), a joint US and European anti-drug trafficking venture.
“This type of cooperation and teamwork produces these kinds of results where suspects are arrested and narcotics prevented from reaching U.S. shores,” Air Operations Director John Wassong said in a statement.
This month’s cocaine haul wasn’t the largest in US history. That title goes to the 2007 seizure of a Panamanian ship that was carrying more than 42,000 pounds of cocaine, according to ABC News.
Previously, the record for the largest cocaine shipment intercepted was from a 2004 operation that captured around 30,000 pounds of the illicit drug.