The US Coast Guard Caught This Cocaine-Smuggling Semi-Submersible

Image: USCG

The U.S. Coast Guard today announced that the Coast Guard Cutter Munro would offload thirty-nine thousand pounds of cocaine in San Diego with Vice President Pence presiding. The copious amounts of powdered narcotic had been taken in 14 separate seizures, including a particularly large haul in mid-June from the so-called narco-submarine seen here.

These semi-submersibles are intended to sit very low in the water slip by undetected. They sit low enough that they’re usually not seen, and it’s rare that they are picked up on instruments.

“They’re like the White Whale,” a Coast Guard spokesperson who definitely had never read Moby Dick told The Washington Post on Thursday. “They’re pretty rare. For us to get one, it’s a significant event.”

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The Coast Guard released this video of the detention the south Pacific, hundreds of miles off the coast of Colombia, where the Cutter Munro patrols. The video shows a boarding team running a boat right up beside the not-quite-sub. One of the Coastguardsmen shouts “Alto tu barco” a lot, before jumping atop the moving aquatic drug mule and knocking politely on the hatch.

It’s all very dramatic. However, “alto” doesn’t mean stop in Spanish, even though it’s on stop signs in Central and South America, probably because of Nazis. The proper way to say this phrase would probably have substituted “pare” for alto, which means up high or loud (as in volume).

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According to the Coast Guard, the cocaine was retrieved from the vessel and it was intentionally sunk, while the alleged smugglers were held captive on board the USCG cutter until they could be handed off to the DEA.

The real question is, are we really still doing that much cocaine in North America? Come on guys, it’s not the 1980s anymore.

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About the author

Bradley Brownell

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.