In a record breaking year for the “War On Drugs,” due to an increased flow, the U.S. Coast Guard seized 1,254 metric tons of cocaine in 2015. A massive bust by the Coast Guard’s Northern California arm, announced on Monday, is an indicator that the powers-that-be may surpass last year’s amount.
On March 3, a Customs and Border Protection aircraft detected a drug smuggling, self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel 300 miles southwest of Panama. The Coast Guard crew manning the cutter called Bertholf was alerted. The LA Times reports:
The crew seized more than 12,800 pounds of cocaine worth more than $203 million and a loaded gun. Four suspected drug smugglers were arrested, Brzuska said. It took the crew numerous times to retrieve the drugs.
This was the Coast Guard’s second time busting an SPSS this year. In January, a Coast Guard crew aboard the Northland cutter intercepted one 280 miles off the coast the Mexican-Guatemalan border.
Altogether, the armed forces have intercepted five self-propelled semi-submersible vessels, since June 2015. Drug runners are turning to these nautical vehicles more and more, since are able to operate partially while partially submerged in water. “Transnational organized crime groups continue to adjust their tactics to avoid detection indicated by a recent rise of SPSS vessels,” explained Vice Admiral Charles Ray, commander of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area. “Despite these efforts, we will continue to execute an offensive strategy that targets, attacks and disrupts these dangerous criminal networks.”
(S/O to Street Certified for the tip!)