FLORIDA GN - A submarine carrying five tonnes of cocaine with a street value of about $165m (£133m) has been captured in the eastern Pacific.

The sub was caught by the Florida coastguard on a routine patrol and four suspected drug-smugglers were arrested.

The vessel, which was only partially submerged, was tracked by a maritime patrol aircraft, which then directed the coastguard boat, called Valiant.The 200ft (61m) ship launched two smaller boats and personnel carried out a “full law enforcement boarding” of the submarine.

It is believed that the “narco-submarine” was built in a secret workshop, and according to Forbes, there is likely to be a least another 30 currently in the seas. Some of the drugs remained on board the submarine due to worries about its stability.Although the location of the sub remains confidential, the Valiant’s commanding officer, Matthew Waldron, said his crew had sailed south of the equator towards Colombia and Ecuador - areas infamous for drug smuggling.

Commander Waldron added: “There are no words to describe the feeling Valiant crew is experiencing right now.

“In a 24-hour period, the crew both crossed the equator and intercepted a drug-laden self-propelled semi-submersible vessel.”