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Suspected drug traffickers fire on U.S. Coast Guard off Nicaragua

By Nick Valencia, CNN
  • Shots were fired as a Coast Guard cutter pursued a go-fast vessel
  • None of the shots hit the Coast Guard boat, a spokesman says
  • The pursuit ended after the vessel entered Nicaraguan waters

(CNN) -- A U.S. Coast Guard cutter was fired upon by suspected drug traffickers during a pursuit off the coast of Nicaragua, a Coast Guard spokesman told CNN.

No Coast Guard personnel were injured in the gunfight, said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O'Neil.

The incident took place in the early morning of September 14, but information about the attack was not released until CNN inquired Friday about the incident.

"While it is rare to have Coast Guard personnel fired upon, this incident serves to remind us of the ruthless nature of smugglers, the disregard they have for human life and the dangers our men and women face when enforcing laws and treaties on the high seas," said O'Neil, chief of media relations for the Coast Guard said.

No shots hit the Coast Guard boat and there was no damage, O'Neil added.

The shooting happened after a boarding team from the Cutter Escanaba pursued a go-fast vessel suspected of smuggling drugs in international waters. The suspects managed to escape after entering Nicaraguan waters, said O'Neil.

The Coast Guard is still reviewing the event, he said.