Coast Guard to offload more than $12 million worth of cocaine in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hawk is scheduled to conduct an at-sea contraband transfer with the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute and offload $12.5 million estimated wholesale value of cocaine at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg today.

On Nov. 4, the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin interdicted a suspicious, Panamanian-flagged fishing vessel north of Colombia. District Seven received permission from the Panamanian Government for a Gallatin crew to board and search the fishing vessel.

During the search, the boarding team discovered 14 bales which later tested positive for cocaine. The Panamanian Government subsequently waived jurisidiction to the United States. Five Colombian suspected smugglers were taken into custody and were later transferred with the contraband to the cutter Resolute.

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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