Coast Guard Makes $162 Million Bust - WFLA News Channel 8

Coast Guard Makes $162 Million Bust

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Resolute returned to its home port of St. Petersburg, after stopping a multi-million dollar drug shipment from getting to its destination. "It's very significant, I think we really hurt someone's day this time," said Commander Charles Miller, USCG.

During its 5 week patrol in the Western Caribbean, the crew help international authorities interdict a self-propelled semi-submersible. This is a type of drug submarine barely skims the surface. "They are very difficult to detect because they run just at water level...they don't leave much of a signature thru the wake or wake thru the water," said Commander Miller.

The semi-sub is typically built in the jungles of South America.  It's usually little more than a crude hull, less than 100 feet long and powered with a diesel engine.  But one can carry up to 6 thousand pounds of cocaine.

In this recent bust, when the Coast Guard arrived, along with ships from the Columbian, Panamanian, and Costa Rican Navy, the drug crew had scuttled the vessel. The coast guard plucked three smugglers from the water and turned them over to international authorities.

Authorities suspect the semi-sub came out of Columbia and was headed to Panama.

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