Coast Guard Seizes Over 1,700 Cocaine Kilos From Narco Submarine

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Coast Guard Seizes Over 1,700 Cocaine Kilos From Narco Submarine

According to a statement recently released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), last month a U.S. Coast Guard cutter intercepted a sea vessel that contained more than 1,700 cocaine kilos (3,800 lbs) off the coast of Texas after they, along with several inter-agency partners, had been tracking it through international waters.

On November 12, a self-propelled “semi-submersible” vessel, designed to navigate low in the water to avoid detection, was interdicted and the cocaine seized. Three crew members were arrested and are now facing criminal charges in the U.S., but the report did not state from where they were on route.

According to the report, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) crews have air crafts that operate out of Jacksonville, FL and Corpus Christi, Texas, and “conduct long-range aerial patrols and surveillance missions along the U.S. borders and in drug transit zones in Central and South America.”

The crews can track and identify, track, and intercept smugglers before they reach the U.S.

Allen Durham, Corpus Christi National Air Security Operations Center Director, called the drug cartels “reckless and extremely innovative”:

“Interdicting self-propelled semi-submersible vessels requires expertise, and the fight aircraft Air and Marine Operations will continue to beat the cartels at their own game to protect our borders.”

The vessel purportedly used by the smugglers is also known as a “narco submarine” and is often used by drug traffickers because it’s low waterline profile can make detection difficult.

In a similar operation, in July 2015, the Coast Guard also intercepted such a vessel off the coast of El Salvador, and an estimated 7.7 tonnes (nearly 17,000 pounds) of cocaine was seized by the U.S. Navy. Four people were taken into custody in connection with the smuggling.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

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