Stunning video shows just how far the US Coast Guard will go to stop suspected drug smugglers. The minute-long video released Thursday shows a member of the US Coast Guard Cutter Munro jumping onto a semi-submersible vessel carrying 17,000 pounds of cocaine worth $232 million in the East Pacific Ocean, then banging on the hatch until it opens. Five suspects were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration following the June 18 encounter, part of a monthslong operation in which the crews of three Coast Guard cutters seized $569 million in cocaine and marijuana from 14 vessels off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America, per NBC News.
ABC News reports the videoed raid was the Coast Guard’s largest bust since 2015. In this case, an aircraft spotted the 45-foot-long vessel before relaying its location. Two Coast Guard boats then moved in. “This is as satisfying as it gets … The crew is ecstatic,” Munro Capt. James Estramonte says, per ABC. Drug-smuggling submersibles, which cartels reportedly build in jungles, have become more common over the last four years, but are easy to miss, Lt. Commander Stephen Brickey tells CNN. “They’re painted blue” to match the waves and “most of the vessel is underwater,” he says. On top of that, the Coast Guard is tasked with patrolling the East Pacific, roughly the size of the entire US, “with the equivalent of two police cars,” per CNN. (Read more Coast Guard stories.)