- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2015

Update: Customs and Border Protection corrected its initial press release, which reported that a semi-submersible was seized off the coast of El Salvador. CBP now says the vessel was seized in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

A “narco-submarine” with 16,870 pounds of cocaine was seized by U.S. authorities in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and assets from the Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine pulled off the joint operation on July 18, Business Insider reported Thursday.

U.S. authorities detained four individuals after commandeering the submarine, Business Insider reported.

“Our extremely efficient and experienced aircrews are fully engaged in protecting the United States’ maritime borders from all threats including those posed by drug trafficking organizations,” said Director of National Air Security Operations Center — Jacksonville Robert Blanchard, CPB reported Thursday on its website. “Our collaborative interagency partnerships and long-range tracking capabilities allow us to interdict dangerous vessels before they reach our coastal borders.”

The drug bust, called Operation Martillo (which means “hammer” in Spanish), was part of a joint effort between 15 nations that work to combat crime in the waters off Central America.

Business Insider reported that authorities have been finding such custom-made drug trafficking vessels since 1993.

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