The U.S. Coast Guard has intercepted its 30th semi-submersible piloted by drug smugglers in less than six years, reports the Miami Herald. The latest was chased down March 30 in the Western Caribbean. The suspected smugglers on board scuttled the cramped craft before they were taken into custody, sending their suspicious load into “thousands of feet of water” off Honduras. By one estimate, it was carrying several tons of drugs.
Intelligence agencies believe these kind of vessels are bound for Central America. Until this latest episode, the Coast Guard had stopped or seen sunk 29 of the low-tech, stealthy vessels — 25 in the eastern Pacific and four in the Caribbean. In the first four Caribbean cases, the crews scuttled their craft in shallow enough water that U.S. law enforcement divers recovered packages of cocaine whose estimated value was $699 million.