US Coast Guard Cutter Valiant crew intercepted a 40-foot self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) transporting 12,000 pounds of cocaine, worth over $165 million.
The cocaine was seized earlier this month in international waters in the Eastern Pacific during the cutter’s patrol.
The semi-submersible was originally detected and monitored by maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), and the Valiant crew was diverted by Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) to interdict the semi-submersible, arriving after sunset.
The Valiant crew launched two small boats with boarding teams made up of Valiant crew and two members of the Coast Guard Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team, successfully interdicting the semi-submersible in the early morning hours, who subsequently led and conducted a full law enforcement boarding with the assistance of Colombian Naval assets that arrived on scene shortly after.
Approximately over 1,100 pounds of cocaine were recovered and offloaded to the Valiant during the operations. The remaining cocaine on the semi-submersible could not be safely extracted due to stability concerns of the vessel.
According to Valiant’s commanding officer, the interdiction coincided with a time-honored mariner’s milestone and tradition of crossing the equator which made both events even more meaningful part of the ship’s patrol.