Coast Guard Seizes Shocking $69 Million Worth of Cocaine from Drug-Running Sub

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Coast Guardsmen from the cutter Harriet Lane interdict $69 million worth of cocaine from a drug-trafficking semi-submersible in the Eastern Pacific Oct. 24, 2019 (video screengrab via Coast Guard)
Coast Guardsmen from the cutter Harriet Lane interdict $69 million worth of cocaine from a drug-trafficking semi-submersible in the Eastern Pacific Oct. 24, 2019 (video screengrab via Coast Guard)

The U.S. Coast Guard seized about $69 million worth of cocaine last month from a submarine-like craft in the Pacific Ocean, the service announced last week.

Video shows the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane removing 5,000 pounds of cocaine from the semi-submersible vessel on Oct. 23 after a maritime patrol stopped it on suspicion of trafficking narcotics. The cutter's crew managed to take control of the craft before four suspected smugglers aboard could sink it with scuttling valves, according to a news release.

Related: Badassery on Display: Coasties Seize Nearly 20 Tons of Cocaine

Commanding Officer of the Harriet Lane Cmdr. Dorothy Hernaez said in a statement that the bust was a result of "excellent" air support by the Joint Interagency Task Force South along with assistance by the cutter's crew.

"I am really proud of our crew and the precision and professionalism with which they conducted this interdiction," Hernaez said. "It was an all hands on deck effort to properly position the cutter and to safely make the seizure."

The cocaine raid was part of routine operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin to patrol known drug transit zones off the coasts of Central and South America. This interdiction was in support of the regional initiative Campaign Martillo, which is meant to target illicit trafficking that "threatens security and prosperity at the national, regional, and international levels."

In July, a dramatic Coast Guard video of Coasties chasing down a drug-running sub and banging on its hatch went viral. Nearly 20 tons of cocaine were seized in that mission.

-- Dorothy Mills-Gregg can be reached at dorothy.mills-gregg@military.com.

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