Drug-running submersible seized following high-speed chase

Image: US Coast Guard
Image: US Coast Guard

The US Coast Guard (USCG) has seized a semi-submersible vessel that was transporting drugs following a perilous pursuit on the high seas, the service said on Thursday, July 11.

The interception occurred on June 18 in the East Pacific Ocean off Colombia and Ecuador shortly after a USCG maritime surveillance aircraft spotted a half underwater and half exposed vessel sailing at high speed.

The nearby Legend-class cutter USCGC Munro then deployed two small boats carrying an armed USCG boarding team to intercept the vessel, which was suspected and later confirmed to be a drug-laden “narco-sub.”

A minute-long video, which has since gone viral on social media, shows USCG personnel yelling at the narco-sub’s crew in both English and Spanish and ordering it to stop. The video also shows one USCG boarding team member clambering up the hull of the moving submersible and then pounding his fist against the hatch.

Just before the video ends, a suspected drug runner emerges from the hatch with his hands in the air.

All five of the narco-sub’s crew have since been handed over the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

The USCG said the submersible was transporting nearly eight tonnes of cocaine with an estimated street value of US$232 million at the time of its seizure.

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