Cocaine submarine seized, US Coast Guard seizes $165M worth of cocaine.
The United States Coast Guard announced that they arrested four suspected drug smugglers and seized over 12,000 pounds of cocaine in a dramatic bust in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. A self-propelled semi-submersible was spotted by a maritime patrol aircraft, and the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant was dispatched to intercept the submarine.
Crew members on the Valiant launched two smaller boats and boarded the smuggler’s 40-foot-long submarine in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Once inside, they detained four crew members and took control of the vessel. They discovered around 12,000 pounds of cocaine estimated to be worth approximately $165 million.
“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,” Commander Matthew Waldron, the Valiant’s commanding officer, said. “Taken together, however, it is truly remarkably unprecedented. This interdiction was an all-hands-on-deck evolution, and each crew member performed above and beyond the call of duty.”
The four accused smugglers, identified as Enrique Mantilla-Olaya, Fausto Hurtado-Candelo, Wiber Tenorio-Rodriguez, and Fernando Tribino-MIna were each indicted on two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. They were transported back to the United States and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Florida.