Coast Guard seizes nearly 10,000 pounds of cocaine

MIAMI – Coast Guard crews seized 10,000 pounds of cocaine worth nearly $100 million during two separate patrols August 18 and August 24.

While conducting law enforcement surveillance in the Western Caribbean, a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Branch aircraft spotted a suspicious Panamanian-flagged vessel off the coast of Honduras.

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

Coast Guard Cutter Resolute crewmembers conducted an at-sea law enforcement boarding and located 8,150 pounds of cocaine hidden within the freighter. The crew confiscated the drugs and detained the nine suspects aboard the vessel.

The cocaine, three Panamanian suspects and vessel were transferred to Panamanian officials. The six remaining suspects were transferred to U.S. law enforcement officials ashore.

The second interdiction occurred on August 24 when the Coast Guard, along with units assigned to the Navy’s 4th Fleet in Mayport, Fla., intercepted a go-fast vessel carrying more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine.

The combined team of Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 409 and the USS Carr (FFG 52), with embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL-43) Detachment 8, was patrolling the Caribbean Sea when they intercepted a go-fast vessel carrying three suspected narcotics smugglers and 47 bales of cocaine, worth an estimated $22 million.

The narcotics were seized by Coast Guard LEDET 409 as evidence in preparation for criminal prosecution.

“The coordinated actions of the Coast Guard and its partners were instrumental to the successful interdiction of $100 million worth of narcotics,” said Seventh Coast Guard District Chief of Enforcement, Capt. Steven Banks.

Since Oct. 1, 2008, Coast Guard crews within the District 7 area of responsibility have seized 39,311 pounds of cocaine.

The cutter Resolute is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Coast Guard LEDET 409 is homeported in Miami.

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