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US customs bust coke-smuggling 'submarine'

Stealth vessel packed with $352m of Colombian naughty salt

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US Customs are feeling pretty pleased with themselves after busting a stealthy "semi-submerged smuggling vessel" packed with $352m of Bolivian marching powder.

The coke-smuggling semi-sub. Photo: US Customs

The unlikely craft was spotted on Sunday off the coast of Guatemala in the Eastern Pacif by a Florida-based US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) P-3 Orion aircraft, which guided a US Navy ship to intercept. The four smugglers aboard duly scuttled the vessel and were subsequently taken into custody along with 11 bales of charlie weighing in at 1,210lbs. CBP estimated the value of the contraband at $352m.

P-3 aircraft operating from Jacksonville have "coordinated more than 32 metric tons of cocaine interdictions this fiscal year worth $2.2bn", according to the CBP. They (and their crews, the CBP helpfully adds), "operate throughout the United States, Central and South America prosecuting any threats to United States and its citizens". ®

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