MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The U.S. Coast Guard, working with a Royal Netherlands Navy vessel in May, seized approximately $3 million in marijuana during a drug patrol in the Caribbean Sea. Friday, those drugs arrived in South Florida.
The drug stop was part of an operation called Operation Martillo which the U.S. is using to “counter the use of the Central American littoral as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, and cash.”
“We got on scene, the vessel started fleeing and jettisoned all the contraband you see right behind me,” said Lt. Mario Gil of the U.S. Coast Guard. “If 3,500 pounds of marijuana get to the streets of South Florida or anywhere in the U.S. that’s an extreme, that’s a lot of marijuana. Not something you see every day down here.”
Operation Martillo is a government-wide approach utilizing agencies like the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and other partner nations.
“Since Operation Martillo began in January 2012, we have collectively seized more than $5 billion of cocaine and $32 million marijuana,” said Capt. Brendan McPherson, 7th Coast Guard District chief of enforcement. “Our success in keeping these drugs off our streets also limits the negative effects they have on regional stability in the Central American isthmus.”
All of the marijuana that was seized will now be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.