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Hiding stowaways, capsized boat lead Colombia navy to nearly 1,000 pounds of cocaine

Officers in the Colombian navy came upon nearly 1,000 pounds of illicit cocaine while working two unrelated incidents in the Caribbean, authorties announced this week.

First, crew members from a coast guard station received a call from a port facility official about the discovery of stowaways on a vessel anchored in the Puerto Bolívar port city. A Coast Guard unit found two people inside the vessel’s anchoring system, along with five black bags that “apparently contained illicit substances,” according to a news release from the Colombian navy.

A preliminary identification test found that the bags contained about 285 pounds of cocaine. The navy did not provide any information about the stowaways.

More drugs were seized when Coast Guard units responded to a report of a capsized vessel about 100 nautical miles from the shore of Santa Marta, another large port city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Several other agencies also responded. At sea, officials found the damaged boat, and 13 bags containing substances were found floating in the water.

Preliminary identification tests conducted in Santa Marta found that the bags contained about 700 pounds of cocaine.

The Colombian navy did not say if any arrests were made in relation to the second operation.

The two seizures combined contained a million doses of cocaine worth “more than $15 million dollars,” according to the Colombian navy and would have made up one million doses of cocaine. As of September, the Colombian navy had seized 265 tons of cocaine in 2023.

According to the BBC, Colombia produces 60% of the cocaine found in the world. Other top-producing countries include Peru and Bolivia. CBS News has previously reported that the United States is the world’s largest consumer of Colombian cocaine.

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