Things That Matter

Colombian Navy Rescues Drug Traffickers Stranded In The Ocean, Floating On Top Of Packets Of Cocaine

The drug industry never sleeps. Some of the feats that drug traffickers pull off to get their product to consumers are nothing short of extraordinary. This one right here though, was a pretty epic fail, deserving of its very own episode in Netflix hit show Narcos. Last week, three men were found by the Colombian Navy, floating in the shark-infested waters of the Pacific using bales of cocaine to stay afloat off the coast of Tumaco, Colombia.

Three drug traffickers who had been floating for hours on packets of waterproofed cocaine were found by Colombian Navy officials.

The bizarre encounter happened 30 miles into the ocean on Colombia’s Pacific coast. The three men, suspected drug traffickers, had been floating among a total of 1,265 kilograms (2,789 lbs) of cocaine hydrochloride for severn hours after their boat was hit by a wave and capsized, according to a statement from the Navy. A spokesman for the coastguard said: “These three people were floating on a material that by its characteristics resembled drugs.”

During a search and rescue operation, officials spotted the castaways and helped them aboard, only to find that they were floating on $50 million dollars worth of cocaine.

Officials spotted the trio floating on packages of different sizes, during a search and rescue operation and promptly went to the rescue. Footage of the incident shows navy officers throwing life belts to the three men from a coastguard ship. Once the men, who were confirmed to be Colombian nationals, and the packages which were waterproofed and weighed over a ton altogether, had been taken safely to shore, chemical tests were carried out. 

“The Colombian Armada secured the rescue of three Colombian nationals and seizure of 1,265 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride in waters of the Colombian Pacific” read a tweet by the Colombian Navy.

It was determined that the packages in fact, contained cocaine hydrochloride. The total seizure had a street value, in the United States, of about $50 million. The three unlucky castaways were turned over to prosecutors and are now facing charges for the trafficking, manufacturing and possession of narcotics. 

The men and their vessel were “Very possibly…on their way to Central America,” Captain Jorge Maldonado of Colombia’s Task Force against Drug Trafficking told Agence France-Presse. The search continues for a fourth individual whom the men say was with them. He is still missing.

According to the UN, large amounts of Colombian Cocaine is smuggled to the U.S. by sea through Central America and the Caribbean.

According to the UNDOC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), cocaine is typically transported from Colombia to Mexico or Central America by sea and then onwards by land to the United States and Canada, often in container shipments. Colombia remains the main source of the cocaine found, but direct shipments from Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia are far more common than in the United States market. A study conducted by the UNDOC found that Colombia is the leading manufacturer of cocaine in the world, while the U.S. is home to the majority of cocaine users. 

Just this year NYC authorities secured the largest cocaine seize in history.

Earlier this year, in March, authorities at the Port of New York and New Jersey seized around 3,200 pounds of cocaine, making it the largest cocaine seizure at the port in nearly twenty five years, and the second of all time, authorities say. The drugs, which had an estimated street value of $77 million, were found  in a shipping container which entered the U.S. from Buenaventura, Colombia. 

In January, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo vowed the US will work with Colombia to decrease production of coca, the plant used to manufacture cocaine, by 50% by 2023.

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