Coast Guard intercepts Venezuelan drug boat

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bear intercepted the fishing vessel, Don Andres, 513 miles northeast of Brazil April 7.

In accordance with international agreements, the Coast Guard requested permission from the Venezuelan government to board and search the vessel.

Venezuelan authorities confirmed the suspected vessel was Venezuelan-flagged and authorized the crew of the Bear to conduct a thorough search of the vessel.

Upon boarding the vessel, crewmembers from the Bear noted the crew of the Don Andres was not involved in typical fishing activities and observed many suspicious packages located in plain sight on the deck of the boat. Further tests indicated the packages were filled with cocaine amounting to more than 2,200 pounds.

The crew of the Bear escorted the Don Andres, its crew and the contents more than 500 miles to a rendezvous point, where they turned over the alleged narcotraffickers and cocaine to Venezuelan coast guard authorities Monday.

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