The Coast Guard on Thursday released video of officials jumping on a moving drug trafficking ship carrying 17,000 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $ 232 million, according to a spokesman for branches.
The video of June 18 showed the crew members of Cutter Munro who jumped on the self-propelled semi-submersible vessel, suspected of carrying drugs, as the ship moved along the cutter in the Eastern Pacific. A crew member can then be seen as breaking up the hatch to find an unidentified man inside.
Five suspected drug smugglers were found inside the ship, said chief lawyer John Masson with the US Coast Guard to Fox News on Thursday.
He said self-propelled semi-submersible vessels are sometimes used by smugglers to smuggle drugs into the open sea. Masson confirmed that the vessels are designed to hold large amounts of drugs and are used to try to avoid detection.
"It's moving pretty fast and it's a high-speed development at sea that is naturally dangerous," Masson told Fox News, referring to the video. "We mitigate these risks as best we can, but it shows the crew to keep these illegal drugs away on our streets."
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The video was captured in a month-long drug operation where 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana were seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific , according to a press release.
The release said the drugs "represent 14 separate suspected drug trafficking vessel interviews and disturbances off Mexico, Central and South America coast of three coastguard cutters between May and July 2019."
Masson told Fox News that the business will lead to prosecution for 55 alleged drug smugglers. He added that while some of the alleged smugglers will be handed over to federal authorities, others will return to their home countries, where they will meet international authorities.
Vice President Pence was in San Diego on Thursday as members of the Coast Guard released the seized drugs. He tweeted extensively about the Coast Guard's "courageous service" which helps save lives.
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Masson told Fox News that the operation was part of Munro's first drug patrol since it was ordered in April 2017.