U.S. drug agents found six stowaways and 182 pounds (83 kilograms) of cocaine in the rudder compartment of a ship heading from Colombia to Houston, Texas, officials say.

Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency caught the men shortly after the vessel unloaded cargo at an interim stop in Norco, DEA spokesman Michael Sanders said Monday.

"They stayed down there, they ate from plastic bags, they lived in water up to their waist," Sanders said.

Investigators arrested Joe Pabon Vallecilla, 35, Javier Renteria, 27, and Fortunato Albornoz, 35, all of Colombia; and John Martinez, 54, Carlos Enrique Santiago-Caparros, 32, and Javier Colon, 32, all of Puerto Rico.

Each was booked Thursday with conspiracy to distribute 83 kilograms of cocaine. Conviction would mean at least 10 years in prison.