August 3, 2018

USA: US Coast Guard Seizes 52,900 Pounds Of Cocaine Worth $729 MILLION From Boats Moving Drugs From Central America To The US. 57 Suspected Smugglers Were Also Taken Into Custody.

The Washington Examiner
written by Anna Giaritelli
Monday July 23, 2018

The Coast Guard seized nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of cocaine over the past two months from smugglers who had attempted to move drugs by boat from Central and South America to the U.S. through international waters, according to a military spokesman.

Coast Guard vessels deployed to the region over the past two months intercepted traffickers and took approximately 52,900 pounds of cocaine valued at $729 million from those boats into custody, Coast Guard spokesman Chad Saylor confirmed to the Washington Examiner Monday.

Fifty-seven suspected smugglers were also taken into custody.

Three ships from the Coast Guard's Medium Endurance Cutter fleet returned last week from deployments to the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are high drug transit zones for cartels trying to ship product from Central and South America to North America.

Coast Guard Cutters Venturous, Steadfast, and Alert seized the majority of the cocaine, aided by Hamilton, Tampa, and Mohawk.

Each trafficker was first spotted by other military or law enforcement personnel who then alerted the Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Fla., and a specific boat is ordered to respond.

CGC Alert interdicted a boat with 12,000 pounds of what it reported to be cocaine, worth $189 million, from several "go-fast" boats. The bust was the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in a single patrol, according to a press release.

“Low profile go-fast vessels are typically painted to blend with the water and are designed to ride low in the water to reduce their radar signature making them more difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect,” Lt. Cmdr. Dave Ratner, executive officer aboard the St. Petersburg, Fla.,-based CGC Venturous, said in a statement.

CGC Steadfast's crew apprehended approximately 17,000 pounds of cocaine between late June and mid July.

“Their hard work means two things," Steadfast Cmdr. Alain Balmaceda said in a statement. "First, more than eight tons of cocaine won’t reach our streets and add to the drug-related deaths and health problems facing our nation. And second, hundreds of millions of dollars are being denied to transnational criminal organizations who spread instability, death, and despair wherever they operate.”

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