American and Honduran authorities intercepted a large haul of cocaine that drug-runners were trying to smuggle into the U.S. aboard a submarine-like vessel, the Coast Guard said Monday.
The big stash of blow - worth about $180 million on the street - was inside a semi-submersible craft that was seized in the Caribbean Sea July 13, authorities said.
The vessel's five-person crew tried to sink the craft after they were intercepted by American authorities. The boat was recovered in about 50 feet of water off of a sparsely populated stretch of the coast of Honduras, authorities said.
The massive bust was believed to be the first of its kind in the Caribbean, according to the Coast Guard.
A Coast Guard officer thanked Honduran officials and the FBI for helping pull off the high-seas drug takedown.
"The technical expertise of the FBI dive team was instrumental in the success of this unique operation in international waters, far from U.S. shores, that ultimately prevented tons of cocaine from reaching our streets," said Capt. Brendan McPherson, chief of enforcement for the 7th Coast Guard District.
Divers recovered more than 7 tons of cocaine. That's quite a lot of blow - but it's a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of snow that is produced each year in Colombia - the country where authorities believe the cocaine originated.
Colombia produced more than 300 tons of cocaine in 2010 alone, according to a White House press release.
High-tech submersible crafts are one of many advanced methods drug-traffickers use to smuggle illegal narcotics into the United States.
The boats are designed to rapidly sink when they are intercepted by law enforcement - making it very difficult to recover evidence, CBS News reported.
The boats can make voyages of up to 5,000 miles.
The crew of the vessel that was intercepted off of the Hondruan coast was detained and will be turned over to American authorities - along with the blow.
"Our goal is to interdict cocaine at sea when it is still concentrated in large loads - before those drugs can be broken into small loads and smuggled across our border with Mexico," said Rear Adm. William Baumgartner, commander of the 7th Coast Guard District in Miami.