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15,000 Pounds of Narcotics Seized from Drug Sub in Caribbean

The Coast Guard interdicts a drug smuggling, self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel in the western Caribbean Sea July 13, 2011.

Used regularly to transport illegal narcotics in the Eastern Pacific, this interdiction is the first of an SPSS in the Caribbean and the first underwater drug removal from an SPSS.

With the assistance of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection P-3 aircraft, a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft, and the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca‘s helicopter crew and pursuit boat personnel interdicted the SPSS and detained its crew. The SPSS sank during the interdiction, but not before a quantity of cocaine was recovered.

Seneca‘s crewmembers, personnel from the Coast Guard Cutter Oak, the FBI, and Honduran Navy divers searched to locate the sunken sub. Using sonar equipment, the Oak‘s crew found the SPSS July 26 floating about 50 feet below the surface and 16 nautical miles offshore near the Nicaraguan border.

The estimated street value of the contraband is $180 million. U.S. Coast Guard video