On April 18, the US Coast Guard announced the interception of its 30th semi-submersible cocaine-smuggling vessel in less than six years, pointing to the widespread use of "narco-submarines" by traffickrs making their way up the Central American coast from Colombia. The Coast Guard said that two of its cutters, the Decisive and Pea Island, chased down the sub on March 30 in the western Caribbean, crediting collaboration with the Honduran navy. The Coast Guard released a photo of the sub's bow painted with shark's teeth as it disappeared beneath the waves. The crew scuttled the craft before they were taken into custody, sending their load to the bottom of the sea.
Until this latest interception, the Coast Guard had intercepted 29 such semi-submersible—25 along Central America's Pacific coast and four in the Caribbean. In the first four Caribbean cases, the crews scuttled their craft in shallow enough water that US divers were able to recover packages of cocaine, with an estimated combined value of $699 million. (Miami Herald, April 14)