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U.S. Coast Guard Seizes Cocaine in Pacific

The U.S. Coast Guard, acting on Colombian intelligence, intercepted a ship towing an unmanned submarine-like vessel that held more than 2 tons of cocaine, Colombia's anti-narcotics police chief.

The boat was raided off the coast of the Ecuadorian-owned Galapagos Islands. The underwater capsule, which was attached by a metal cable, was designed so smugglers could tow it below their boat and escape detection if drug agents searched the ship.

Although similar capsules have been seized in the past, increased vigilance in the Pacific has forced drug smugglers to come up with increasingly creative ways to hide their illegal shipments.

Additionally, 2.5 tons of cocaine was discovered hidden in the oil tanks of a ship docked in the Colombian Pacific port of Buenaventura. Eight suspects were arrested.

Colombia is the world's biggest produce of cocaine and a major supplier of heroin to the United States. The Colombian navy has this year seized a record 46 tons of cocaine.

Also, authorities seized $4.5 million worth of counterfeit American currency during a raid on a clandestine printing workshop in south Bogota, police said in a statement. The network had been sending the money to Ecuador and Venezuela, where the U.S. dollar is widely accepted as legal tender. Police have so far this year seized $20 million in counterfeit bills, compared with a total of $7.4 million in 2004.