MIAMI (CBSMiami) – More than $17 million worth of cocaine will not make it to the streets of South Florida or anywhere else for that matter after the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted the 1,400 pounds of coke from a go-fast vessel in the southwest Caribbean Sea.
The drug interdiction took place on January 24th and the Coast Guard just released photographs and details of the high seas drug bust on Tuesday.
According to the Coast Guard, the crew of a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine aircraft spotted a suspicious go-fast boat with four people on board during a routine patrol.
The crewmembers from the Coast Guard cutter Mohawk were diverted to the scene and launched a helicopter crew from Jacksonville. The helicopter located the boat and witnessed the suspected smugglers throw the contraband overboard as they continued their pursuit.
Crewmembers from the Mohawk found the boat and recovered 18 bales of cocaine from the water.
The cocaine and four suspected smugglers arrived at the Coast Guard Station Miami Beach on Feb. 19th where the smugglers were taken into custody by law enforcement agents and the drugs were offloaded.
“Seizures at sea are the most efficient and cost-effective way to keep contraband off the streets of America,” said Cmdr. Timothy Cronin, 7th Coast Guard District assistant chief of enforcement. “The crew of the Mohawk and their embarked HITRON helicopter crew flawlessly executed another successful at-sea interdiction. As part of Operation Martillo, they successfully denied drug smugglers from bringing illegal narcotics into the Central American transhipment route and ultimately prevented these drugs from crossing national borders.”
Operation Martillo is an international operation focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies to counter illicit drug trafficking.