Coast Guard stops semi-submersible with 7.5 tons of cocaine

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The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection interdicted approximately 15,000 pounds of cocaine and detained four suspects from a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico on Aug. 31.

A CBP Office of Air and Marine P-3 Maritime Patrol Aircraft tracked the 50-foot vessel while on routine patrol in the region. The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, also on patrol in the area, was alerted to the suspicious vessel.

“Every load of cocaine stopped at sea impacts the operation of transnational criminal organizations that spread violence, instability and death wherever they operate,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Giammanco of the 11th Coast Guard District law enforcement branch.

The seized contraband is worth an estimated $227 million. After the suspected smugglers and contraband were removed from the semi-submersible the craft was sunk as a hazard to navigation.