MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Coast Guard officials in Miami Beach offloaded $13.7 million worth of cocaine and marijuana on Friday.
That’s just the wholesale value. It could be double or triple that amount if it made it to the streets of South Florida.
Members offloaded 3,100 pounds of marijuana and 328 kilograms of cocaine at the Miami Beach Coast Guard base.
The cocaine was seized on May 22nd after Coast Guard officials responded to reports of a go-fast boat heading towards Colombian shores.
The boat eventually beached itself on St. Lucia island where officials recovered the 14 bales of the drug.
The marijuana had been seized near Panama on May 27th. Those on the boat were seen throwing the drugs overboard. Crews later recovered 62 bales of the drug.
Four suspected smugglers, Costa Rican men, were taken into custody and were being transferred to federal law enforcement officials in Miami.
“There’s a direct correlation between violent crime and drugs. And we’re concerned obviously because we have eight of the ten deadliest countries in the Western Hemisphere. So we know if we can stop the drugs we can stop the violence,” said Lt. Gabe Somma.
Both interdictions were part of a two month-long counter drug mission in Operation Martillo meant to counter the use of Central American shipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash.
“Your will to catch them has to be greater than their will to get away and their will is pretty substantial so it can can extraordinarily dangerous because your chasing someone at 30 to 50 mph and they have no desire to get caught,” said Commander Sherman Lacey.
So far this year the U.S. Coast Guard has confiscated more that $2 billion worth of drugs. The goal is to make it to $3 billion by the end of the year.
“These interdictions are one small piece in intent on dismantling and disabling drug trafficking networks and illegal organized crime that are running rampant in Central American and Caribbean basin,” said Commander Tom Cronin. “Those organizations fuel violence. They fuel instability and those subsequent effects have impacts on the U.S. It’s no coincidence that 40,000 plus unaccompanied children wound up on the southwest border last spring to flee those countries from the violence and the corruption.”