Narco-submarine interception video showcases the Coast Guard's role in the global drug war

The U.S. Coast Guard this week released riveting video showing a Coast Guard crew intercepting a submarine carrying thousands of pounds of cocaine in June.

The video, which came from a camera worn by a crew member, shows a heavily armed Coast Guardsman jumping on the so-called narco-submarine and pounding on the hatch until the smugglers surrender.

The Coast Guardsmen in the video are from the Coast Guard Cutter Munro. During the cutter's months at sea, crews seized 39,000 pounds of cocaine, arrested 55 smuggling suspects, and sank several drug boats.

The Munro pulled into Coronado, California, this week to off-load the drugs. At an event on shore to mark the off-loading, Admiral Linda Fagan called this "lifesaving work."

"And while we may not know how many lives were saved here today by this offload, this crew and the crews involved in these interdictions should be proud of what they've achieved," she said.

The operation was part of America's billion-dollar war on drugs fought on the high seas far from U.S. shores. Cocaine is the drug cartels' cash cow. 85% moves up the Central American coast in ships. Most is then broken down and sent over the U.S.-Mexican border by land.

Strategically, the U.S. hopes to stop cocaine near the source by deploying in the Pacific Ocean. But the Coast Guard has fewer than 10 ships for an area larger than the United States. Helicopters shrink the space, using infrared and radar to identify drug runners. Snipers disable those who don't stop.