The US Coast Guard has offloaded some 1,800 kilograms of cocaine worth over $50 million in St. Petersburg, on Saturday.
The cocaine was seized from a tanker in the Caribbean during a routine patrol in August this year.
Crewmembers of the Coast Guard cutter Tahoma detected and intercepted a 226-foot tanker suspected of smuggling contraband. The Tahoma crew launched a Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and small boat to the tanker.
Law enforcement officers seized 60 bales of contraband, which later tested positive for cocaine.
The tanker, contraband and suspected smugglers were turned over to federal law enforcement officials in St. Petersburg.
“This offload sends a direct message to those that seek to exploit a disaster to smuggle contraband at sea, that our operations continue to support border and national security,” said Rear Adm. Peter Brown, commander of the Coast Guard’s 7th District. “While we continue to support hurricane response efforts, our interagency partners at the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice remain focused and committed to dismantling these criminal organizations.”
The cutter Diligence is a 210-foot Medium Endurance cutter homeported in Wilmington, North Carolina.