The crew of the US Coast Guard medium endurance cutter Valiant successfully interdicted a drug-laden self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) during a routine patrol in international waters in the Eastern Pacific late last month.
Found on board the SPSS were approximately 5.4 tonnes of cocaine, with an estimated street value of US$165 million, as well as four suspected drug smugglers.
The SPSS was originally detected and monitored by a maritime patrol aircraft, and the crew of Valiant was diverted by Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) to interdict the suspect vessel, arriving after sunset.
Valiant‘s crew launched two small boats with boarding teams and interdicted the semi-submersible in the early morning hours.
The boarding was conducted with the assistance of Colombian Navy assets that arrived on scene shortly after.
Approximately 500 kilograms of cocaine were recovered and offloaded to Valiant during the operations. The remaining cocaine on the semi-submersible could not be safely extracted due to stability concerns of the vessel.
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