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By Joel Marino
The Sun-Sentinel

MIAMI - A Miami-based U.S. Coast Guard crew patrolling the Pacific Ocean seized seven tons of cocaine worth more than $187 million from smugglers who'd crammed the drugs into a a semi-submersible vessel on Saturday, authorities said.
A U.S. Navy aircraft spotted the 59-foot SPSS vessel floating in the waters off the eastern Pacific Ocean, Coast Guard officials said on Tuesday. The seven-member Coast Guard crew responded aboard a Navy ship.
Three of the crew members boarded the vessel at night, though officials did not say the exact time. When the smugglers realized there were people on their deck, they reversed their engines at high speed in an attempt to throw the crew into the water, authorities said.
The Coast Guard officers were able to get into the vessel before the craft sped off. They then rounded up the four smugglers inside, said spokesman Luis Diaz.
The smugglers were told to turn off the vessel's scuttling valves, which would have sent the coke shipment into the water, officials said.
The smugglers were taken into custody aboard the Navy ship, but Diaz did not know if that ship had returned to the U.S.
Authorities believe the smugglers were trying to reach the U.S. from South America.
Diaz said it's customary for Coast Guard crews to patrol other districts.

Wire Service
 
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