A semi-submersible vessel carrying more than 7,000 pounds of suspected cocaine was intercepted in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico, the country’s navy announced Thursday, in a dramatic seizure captured on video. The so-called “narco sub” was roughly 85 feet long and is considered to be the largest of its kind seized by the current government, officials said in a news release.
Five people from different nationalities traveling on the vessel were arrested Tuesday and taken to the coastal city of La Paz, officials said.
Authorities said that navy ships and helicopters pursued the semi-submersible until officers were ultimately able to embark on the vessel, where they found approximately 186 packages of suspected cocaine.
A video posted to Facebook by the Mexican navy shows an aerial view of the semi-submersible being chased by ships and a helicopter before finally being intercepted.
“The success of the mission was achieved thanks to the training of the naval personnel, since the elements boarded the illegal vessel in motion, under conditions of strong winds and waves on the high seas,” the navy said.
Officials said that the navy has now seized about 47,000 pounds of cocaine in Mexican waters this year and arrested 121 people “at sea carrying out illegal activities.”
Semi-submersibles are commonly used by traffickers in Central and South America to transport drugs. The vessels move low in the water to escape detection and rarely are able to fully submerge.
They are particularly common off the coast of Colombia. Last month, the Colombian navy intercepted one such vessel carrying more than 5,000 pounds of cocaine as the crew unsuccessfully tried to sink the cargo of drugs. Also in May, the largest so-called “narco sub” ever recorded in Colombia was intercepted with 3 tons of cocaine on board.
In March, officials seized a semi-submersible carrying two dead bodies and a massive haul of drugs off the coast of Colombia.
Source: El Financiero