MIAMI, Aug. 2 (UPI) — A drug smugglers’ submarine with $180 million worth of cocaine inside has been found off the coast of Honduras, the U.S. Coast Guard says.
On July 13, a customs plane spotted a “self-propelled semi-submersible,” and the Coast Guard cutter Seneca stopped it and captured five people, but the crew succeeded in sinking the vessel with 7.5 tons of the drug, officials told The Miami Herald.
Coast Guard, FBI and Honduran navy divers, aided by sonar, found the submarine July 26, 50 feet under water and 16 nautical miles offshore near the Nicaraguan border.
It was the first drug submarine found in the Caribbean, the Coast Guard said.
“Working on a buoy deck is dangerous enough,” said Lt. Cmdr. Peter Niles of the cutter Oak, which found the craft. “But this unique mission involved blending dive operations, boat operations and deck operations at the same time.”
The sub crew members, from Colombia and Honduras, were in Tampa, Fla., awaiting hearings Friday on charges of possessing cocaine with intent to distribute in the United States.
Authorities said they were taking the drugs from Colombia to Mexico.
The semi-submersibles are less than 100 feet long and made of fiberglass and wood to evade radar.