Coast Guard offloads nearly 2 tons of cocaine in St. Petersburg

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter based out of Portsmouth, Va., offloads nearly two tons of cocaine Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Florida. While patrolling the Caribbean Sea in support of Operation Unified Resolve and Operation Martillo, approximately 1,580 kgs of cocaine were seized by the U.S. Coast Guard and partner nation crews between Dec. 20-22, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter based out of Portsmouth, Va., offloads nearly two tons of cocaine Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Florida. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa offloaded nearly two tons of cocaine Friday in St. Petersburg that was seized in the Caribbean Sea.

While patrolling in support of Operation Unified Resolve and Operation Martillo, approximately 1,580 kgs of cocaine were seized, worth $46,681,100 wholesale, by U.S. Coast Guard and partner nation crews between Dec. 20-22, 2017.

On Dec. 20, 2017, 820 kgs were interdicted during a joint boarding conducted by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier and Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez, two Sentinel-class cutters homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The remainder was seized December 22, 2017 by the Coast Guard’s Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) South deployed aboard HNLMS Van Speijk, a Royal Netherlands Navy ship, operating in the Caribbean.

“This offload represents nearly two tons of illicit drugs that will never hit our streets,” said Cmdr. Nick Simmons, commanding officer of the Tampa. “This is the result of the combined efforts of our partners and allied men and women who continue to work day and night to stop these criminal organizations from profiting off transnational crime and smuggling.”

Operation Unified Resolve is a combined effort between the U.S. Coast Guard and international partners in the Caribbean region to deter illicit activity and interdict vessels smuggling drugs and illegal migrants to the United States. Operation Martillo is Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) led multi-national detection, monitoring and interdiction operation conducted by U.S. Navy, Coast Guard , and Customs and Border Protection vessels and aircraft working in cooperation with military and law enforcement agencies from various Central and South American nations, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Coast Guard Cutter Tampa is a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter based out of Portsmouth, Va. Tampa regularly conducts 60 to 90-day maritime law enforcement and Homeland Security deployments to the Eastern Pacific, Caribbean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean.

Tampa’s primary missions include counter-drug and migrant interdiction operations, search and rescue, national defense, and international engagement. This cutter is the fourth Coast Guard cutter to bear the name “Tampa,” and named in honor of the USS Tampa that was sunk by a German U-Boat during World War I. The crew will participate in the dedication of a mural commemorating the 100th anniversary of sinking of the original cutter at the Tampa Bay History Center on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

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