MIAMI, FL – The U.S. coast Guard unloaded over 7 tons of cocaine in Miami on Tuesday, Aug 2, that was seized from a submarine-like vessel off the coast of Honduras after suspected smugglers were intercepted allegedly transporting the drugs, worth an estimated $180m in mid-July. Cocaine recovered from a sunken drug sub intercepted in the Caribbean. (US Coast Guard) The new vessel used by drug runners is a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) which is used to transport the drugs to market. The Coast Guard said in a statement it was the first time the authorities had caught a "drug sub" in western Caribbean waters. WATCH VIDEO: Workboat.com reports: Built in the leftist rebel controlled jungles of Colombia with advanced steel construction and equipped with sophisticated electronics, the vessels can hold seven to 10 tons of cocaine and are easily scuttled if detected. With no running lights and no flag, they're also hazards to navigation. In this recent smuggling attempt, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection plane spotted the SPSS, and a Seneca helicopter crew and pursuit boat stopped it. The semi-submersible was taking on water after being scuttled by its crew, said Seneca Cmdr. Charles Fosse. They removed the SPSS crew, the Coast Guard team and two packages of drugs seconds before the vessel sank. Lt. Cmdr. Peter Niles, commanding officer of the cutter Oak, said the search of a quarter-mile-by-quarter-mile area was "essentially looking for a needle in a haystack." He described the event as a once in a career experience. "I've been here for 27 years, and I've never been involved in a drug case like this," Niles said. The increased use of sub-like vessels prompted Congress in 2008 to enact a new law making it illegal to operate a stateless SPSS on the theory that there's no legitimate purpose for such craft. That means the crews can't scuttle the vessels to avoid prosecution. According to Coast Guard officials the drugs, which were unloaded in a port in Miami, will now be turned over to the federal government. Published by maritime lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP Related Searches: Louisiana maritime lawyer Houston maritime lawyer
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