The US coastguard aired a video Thursday showing members of the armed forces jumping on a submarine carrying 17,000 pounds of cocaine on a $ 569 million cocaine robbery.
In the video, a member of the United States Coast Guard cutter Munro yells at an unidentified water vehicle to stop as he moves along the cutter on the surface of the eastern Pacific Ocean. Crew members then jump on the largely immersed ship as it moves and the lock opens.
A person inside the ship can be seen briefly just when the hatch opens at the end of the video.
About 17,000 pounds of cocaine were found inside, along with five suspected smugglers, the US Coast Guard told NBC News Thursday. The estimated market value of the drugs is $ 232 million.
Self-propelled submersible ships, often referred to as "narcos", are sometimes used by cartels and traffickers to smuggle drugs across borders.
The operation, which took place on June 18, was one of 14 drug smugglers intercepted off the coast of Mexico, Central America and South America by three Coast Guard vessels between May and July of this year. A total of 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana were seized on that date, valued at $ 569 million, according to a press release on Thursday.
Vice President Mike Pence was on site as Coast Guard members unloaded the seized drugs in San Diego on Thursday. The operations will lead to the prosecution of 55 alleged smugglers, according to Pence.
"Make no mistake, Coasties, your brave service saves American lives," Pence told members of the military service on Thursday.
Some of the 55 suspected drug traffickers will be transferred to federal authorities, while others will be forwarded to international authorities for prosecution in their home country, Coast Guard said.
The June seizure was part of the US Coast Guard's first anti-drug patrol since it came into service two years ago. The new vessel is one of six state-of-the-art ships added to the Coast Guard fleet in recent years and two more have been commissioned in Hawaii, the military branch told NBC News.
Approximately 70% of the Coast Guard fleet consists of medium endurance cutters over the age of 50 requiring expensive maintenance.