USCG Cutter Valiant Intercepts Semi-Sub with Six Tons of Cocaine


Published Sep 24, 2019 2:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Valiant has intercepted a drug-laden, 40-foot semi-submersible in the Eastern Pacific. 

While on routine patrol in the Eastern Pacific, Valiant’s crew interdicted a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) in international waters carrying about 12,000 pounds of cocaine and apprehended four suspected drug smugglers. The haul is worth an estimated $165 million.

The semi-submersible was detected and monitored by maritime patrol aircraft, and the Valiant crew was diverted by Joint Interagency Task Force South to interdict the semi-submersible, arriving after sunset. The Valiant crew launched two small boats with boarding teams withValiant crewmembers and two members of the Coast Guard Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team. The boarding parties successfully intercepted the semi-submersible in the early morning hours, and they conducted a full law enforcement boarding with the assistance of Colombian naval assets which arrived on scene shortly after.

Approximately over 1,100 pounds of cocaine were recovered and offloaded to the Valiant during the operations. The remaining cocaine on the semi-submersible could not be safely extracted due to stability concerns of the vessel. The joint boarding successfully stopped a drug smuggling vessel and also strengthened international relations and communications between the two partner nations.

"There are no words to describe the feeling Valiant crew is experiencing right now,” said Cmdr. Matthew Waldron, Valiant’s Commanding Officer. “In a 24-hour period, the crew both crossed the equator and intercepted a drug-laden self-propelled semi-submersible vessel. Each in and of themselves is momentous events in any cutterman's career."