A self-propelled, semi-submersible vessel that was smuggling more than 3,800 pounds of cocaine was intercepted by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, off the coast of Texas, according to a statement released on December 8, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Self-propelled, semi-submersible vessels are low-profile vessels designed to navigate low in the water to avoid detection.
However, on November 13, a CBP and Air and Marine Operations (AMO) crew, in coordination with interagency partners, pursued a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel engaged in cocaine smuggling.
CBP and AMO apprehended the three-person crew during joint operations in international waters. All three suspects will face charges in the U.S.
Allen Durham, the National Air Security Operations Center Corpus Christi Director, said in a statement that drug cartels are “relentless and extremely innovative” and that “interdicting self-propelled, semi-submersible vessels requires expertise and the right aircraft.”
“Air and Marine Operations will continue to beat the cartels at their own game to protect our borders,” Durham added.
The multi-day operation from surveillance to interception, according to CBP, involved several interagency sea-faring partners including the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy.
Marine Operations controls maritime patrol aircrafts from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida. They conduct long-range aerial patrols and surveillance missions along the U.S. borders and in drug transit zones in Central and South America, according to CBP. The aircrews are trained to detect and disrupt drug smugglers before they reach the U.S. borders
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