US Coast Guard seizes $30M worth of cocaine, arrests four

The seized cocaine was offloaded at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico Jan. 8, 2017. Photo: US Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard said it offloaded some 2,000 pounds (907 kg) of seized cocaine and handed over four suspected smugglers to U.S. federal law enforcement authorities at Coast Guard Sector San Juan on Sunday.

The cocaine’s wholesale value was estimated at around $30 million.

The interdiction took place on January 2 when the crew of a Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft on a routine patrol located a suspicious go-fast vessel just off the Dominican Republic.

The USS Zephyr was diverted to interdict the suspect vessel. The Zephyr, operating with a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment onboard, interdicted the go-fast, detained the four suspected smugglers and seized numerous bales which tested positive for cocaine.

The interdiction and seizure of contraband was the result of ongoing multi-agency law enforcement efforts in support of operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.

The seized contraband and detainees were transferred by the Zephyr to the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley for transport to Puerto Rico, where they were placed in the custody of drug enforcement administration special agents.

“The crew of the USS Zephyr and the USCG Law Enforcement Team performed phenomenally well as they held station and interdicted the go-fast,” said Lt. Cmdr. Cameron Ingram, USS Zephyr commanding officer. “This successful boarding led to the seizure of over 2,000 pounds of cocaine, furthering protection to our shores and contributing security within the region and homeland.”

“This is the result of a great and extraordinary interagency effort from the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force,” said Matt Donahue, special agent in charge DEA Caribbean division. “Undoubtedly, the cooperation in this joint investigation between DEA, FBI , HSI and USCG illustrates the great things law enforcement can achieve to combat drug trafficking in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Region”

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