The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a drug-filled submarine carrying about 12,000 pounds of cocaine and arrested four suspected smugglers in a remarkable enforcement operation in the Pacific Ocean this month.
The Florida-based Coast Guard crew, known as Valiant, seized the 40-foot vessel in an early-morning raid on Sept. 5 and found more than $165 million worth of cocaine inside, authorities said in a statement Tuesday.
This type of self-propelled semi-submersible is often referred to as a “narco-submarine” as it’s used by drug cartels to haul illegal substances though international waters.
The Coast Guard released dramatic footage of the operation, showing service members boarding the vessel to arrest the suspects in pitch dark conditions.
Authorities said they recovered about 1,100 pounds of the drug, but the remaining cocaine could not be safely extracted because the submarine was not stable.
Colombian Naval crews assisted the U.S. during the operation, which officials said took place shortly after the Coast Guard’s Valiant service members crossed the equator.
"There are no words to describe the feeling Valiant crew is experiencing right now,” Cmdr. Matthew Waldron said in the statement. “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.”