Coast Guard offloads more than $12 million of cocaine in St. Petersburg, Fla

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MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute offloaded more than $12 million in cocaine, seized during two separate cases, at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Sunday.

U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) aboard on the USS Halyburton seized more than $12 million in cocaine during two separate cases in February in support of Operation Martillo.

On Feb. 7, a maritime patrol aircraft detected a 40-foot go-fast northeast of Panama. The Coast Guard LEDET aboard the USS Halyburton launched a smallboat and observed the go-fast vessel crew jettison several packages into the water. The suspects fled at a high rate of speed towards Panamanian waters. The LEDET crewmembers recovered three bales from the water that later tested positive for cocaine.

The second seizure occurred on Feb. 14 when a maritime patrol aircraft located and observed a go-fast vessel crew jettison several packages in the water northeast of Panama. Crewmembers from the Colombian Navy stopped the go-fast vessel and took the suspected smugglers in custody. LEDET crewmembers recovered 12 bales of contraband from the water that later tested positive for cocaine.

All the contraband was later transferred to the cutter Resolute for offload in St. Petersburg, Fla.

This interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, which is one component in the United States government’s whole-of-government approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, and cash. Operation Martillo is an international operation focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies to counter illicit trafficking.

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