Coast Guard scheduled to offload approximately $16 million of cocaine and marijuana

Southeastern Coast Guard News
MIAMI — A Coast Guard Base Miami Beach smallboat crew in coordination with the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant will be offloading 50 bales of marijuana and 15 bales of cocaine at Coast Guard Base Miami beach Friday at 8:30 a.m.

The drugs are the results of two interdictions carried out as part of Operation Martillo.

On Sept. 29, the Royal Navy warship HMS Lancaster with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team aboard, located a 40-foot drug smuggling vessel with two people aboard in international waters north of San Andres Island, Colombia. The Lancaster helicopter observed the two people aboard the smuggling vessel jettisoning multiple bales of contraband. The suspected smugglers were able to flee from law enforcement, but the Lancaster crew found a debris field, where they were able to recover 50 bales which later tested positive for marijuana.

On Oct. 2, Coast Guard Seventh District Command Center received a report from the Lancaster that their embarked helicopter crew located another suspected smuggling vessel covered with a blue tarp in international waters near San Andres Island, Colombia. The helicopter crew reported the suspects jettisoning bales from the vessel. Coast Guard District Seven command center directed the Royal Canadian Navy ship Preserver to pursue the smugglers and the Lancaster to proceed to the debris field. The Lancaster helicopter stopped the vessel and a law enforcement detachment team boarded it. The law enforcement team recovered 15 bales of cocaine and the four suspected smugglers were taken into custody.

These interdictions were 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 this illicit trafficking.

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