Self-propelled, semi-submersible craft are low and sleek and difficult to detect. The U.S. Coast Guard recently intercepted one of these high-tech marvels off of the coast of Texas. The three-man crew was apparently not out to enjoy the clear blue water or to test their seamanship.
According to media reports, the Coast Guard found about 3,800 pounds of cocaine aboard the tiny vessel that was plying international waters at the time of interdiction.
The National Air Security Operations Center Corpus Christi Director released a statement that Columbian drug cartels are "relentless and extremely innovative" in their efforts to smuggle drugs north to U.S. borders. It is about 1,900 miles from Cartagena, Columbia to Corpus Christi, Texas.
Because the small, semi-submersible craft are relatively slow (going only about 7 miles per hour), it would take nearly 12 days to make that ocean voyage.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air (CBP) and Marine Operations (AMO) are based out of Corpus Christi and Jacksonville, Florida. They patrol drug transit waters from Central and South America north to the U.S., according to an official statement.
In this case, authorities used a P-3 Long Range Tracker aircraft to track the low-profile vessel. The three men aboard the craft will face federal drug smuggling charges that could result in lengthy prison sentences if they are convicted.
Anyone facing the prospect of federal or state prison can contact a Rio Grande Valley attorney experienced in criminal defense of drug trafficking charges to discuss evidence and allegations.