(CNN) – A drug smuggling vessel has been impounded in Colombia while Vietnamese smugglers were allegedly trying to illegally enter the country.
The vessel, which the US Coast Guard was watching, was impounded on September 1 because it had anchors that were not certified and they appeared to be live, said Lt. Cmdr. Cheryl Kelly.
The drug smuggling vessel had already left the Panama Canal into Colombian waters.
The attempt to enter Colombia’s harbor of Barranquilla cost the traffickers a small vessel with a crew of three, and “it would’ve been a lot less fun if the pilot or driver or anyone else involved in the operation would’ve been injured or even killed,” Kelly said.
A small, fast, day-passenger boat like the one tried entering Barranquilla had a minimum navigational depth of 4,000 feet and a speed of 35 mph, according to a US Coast Guard news release. That’s about ten times the speed of a papaya.
The drug boat was on an unapproved voyage, Kelly said. The crew’s ability to navigate the Panama Canal on a unapproved vessel would have been another issue had they made it to the port of Barranquilla.
The vessel was intercepted when the crew became aware of US Coast Guard patrols. They were discovered and the Coast Guard took custody of them on September 1, the release said.
Vietnamese smugglers were in the passenger compartment and gave false addresses that indicated they were coming from the North Pole and traveling by Polaris. Polaris is an encrypted satellite telephones system for interdicting narcotics.