Coast Guard offloads $12.5 million worth of cocaine in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Coast Guard transferred multiple bales of cocaine to Drug Enforcement Administration authorities in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands Nov. 1, 2016. In total, 992 pounds of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of $12.5 million were seized as a result multi-agency law enforcement efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve and Operation Caribbean Guard. (DEA courtesy photo)

Coast Guard transferred multiple bales of cocaine to Drug Enforcement Administration authorities in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands Nov. 1, 2016.  (DEA courtesy photo)

SAINT THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands — Coast Guardsmen offloaded and transferred approximately 992 pounds of cocaine to Drug Enforcement Administration authorities in St. Thomas Tuesday.

The seized contraband was estimated to have a wholesale value of $12.5 million.

The interdiction and seizure of contraband was the result of ongoing multi-agency law enforcement efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve and Operation Caribbean Guard.

A Coast Guard cutter was diverted to interdict the suspect vessel in coordination with Customs and Border Protection marine units.  The cutter crew located and recovered numerous bales which tested positive for cocaine.  A Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft and a Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter also assisted in the law enforcement efforts.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is leading an investigation into this case.

“The successful disruption and contraband recovery is a testament to the capabilities of the Coast Guard’s Fast Response Cutter and the seamless coordination and partnership of DHS surface and air assets,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jorell Webb, Coast Guard cutter commanding officer.

The Coast Guard’s efforts under Operation Unified Resolve contribute to the interagency results being achieved locally each and every day under Operation Caribbean Guard, which coordinates efforts between the Coast Guard, DHS and the Commonwealth and Territorial law enforcement partners, who are working diligently to deter, detect and disrupt illicit maritime trafficking to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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