MIAMI – The United States Coast Guard offloaded approximately 1,100 kilograms of cocaine and 4,420 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated wholesale value of $41 million, found during two recent operations in the Caribbean Sea.
Officials offloaded the items at the Coast Guard Station Miami Beach this morning. The drugs were seized during operations to stop the flow of illegal drugs from South America.
In one case, a Coast Guard aircraft located a suspicious go-fast boat near the Dominican Republic on Sept. 20. The agency’s cutter Richard Dixon responded and seized the vessel after three suspects tossed four packages into the water. Multiple packages were also found on board. The Coast Guard recovered 49 bales of marijuana.
The suspected smugglers have been transferred to U.S. authorities for prosecution.
“They are often out there working alone, that’s why we rely so heavily on our partnerships with people like the Coast Guard, it’s not a good feeling to come upon a drug smuggler in the middle of the night and know that nobody is around for back up,” Customs and Border Protection deputy director Jesse Wozniak said.
Since October 2014, the Coast Guard has removed 130 metric tons of cocaine ($4.3 billion), the most since 2008, according to a press release. The Coast Guard and its federal partners have brought nearly 500 smugglers in more than 200 cases in for prosecution and seized over 135 vessels, both record highs. These numbers include seizures on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.