MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The guardsmen had a lot of work ahead of them.
There was seven and a half tons of cocaine on the cutter to offload, worth an estimated $214 million.
“We are bringing these drugs in to Miami to offload them and dispose of them,” said Coast Guard commander Tim Cronin.
For an offload at the coast guard’s Miami Beach base, it’s the biggest in four years.
But it only represents a small fraction of the cocaine that’s trying to get in to the United States.
“This year in the eastern pacific we’ve seen 64 tons of cocaine interdicted which already two thirds way in to the fiscal year represents where we were at last year for a total. So we are already bypassing last year’s numbers,” said Commander Cronin.
That means the coast guard still has four months remaining in their fiscal year to seize more drugs from smugglers.
These drugs unloaded on Monday were intercepted in international waters off of Central and South America between April and May.
This massive haul comes from twelve suspected smuggling vessels, but it takes a village to make this happen.
“It’s a combined effort between US Coast Guard, US Navy, and Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security resources to bring these drugs in to Miami today,” said Commander Cronin.
Over a dozen suspects on those vessels were transferred to the Department of Justice for interrogation.
The Coast Guard believes the groups behind the drug trafficking are also responsible for record high homicide rates in Central and South America.
“During that transit they bring a lot of instability and conflict in those south American countries. It’s no coincidence that 8 of the 10 most homicidal exist in the western hemisphere right in our back yard,” Commander Cronin said.
The Coast Guard says it has increased its presence in those areas which obviously is working for them.
Seven and a half tons of proof that have been taken off the water before they get to the streets of South Florida.