(CMC) The United States Coast Guard says it has seized an estimated 1,800 kilograms of cocaine with a wholesale value of more than US$50 million in drug operations in the Caribbean Sea.
The Coast Guard said that the drugs were intercepted last month by crewmembers from the Cutter Tahoma, who intercepted a 226-foot tanker suspected of smuggling contraband.
The Coast Guard said the tanker, contraband and suspected smugglers were turned over to US federal law enforcement officials in St Petersburg.
“This offload sends a direct message to those that seek to exploit a disaster to smuggle contraband at sea, that our operations continue to support border and national security,” said Rear Admiral Peter Brown, commander of the Coast Guard’s 7th District.
“While we continue to support hurricane response efforts, our interagency partners at the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice remain focused and committed to dismantling these criminal organisations,” he added.
The US Coast Guard said it has increased the US and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Basin, “which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America, as part of the Western Hemisphere Strategy.”
The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Caribbean Sea are conducted under the authority of the 7th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Miami, Florida, the Coast Guard said.