US Coast Guard Cutter Alligator offloaded approximately $5.1 million, estimated wholesale value, of cocaine Thursday at Sector St. Petersburg, Florida.
The cocaine was seized in support of Operation Caribe Venture.
During a routine patrol on Nov. 3, a Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine aircraft detected a 25-foot “go-fast” vessel in the Caribbean Sea. An armed U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew aboard the His Netherland’s Majesty’s
Ship Holland launched and observed suspicious packages on board the go-fast. After the suspected vessel failed to heave to, the armed helicopter crew employed warning shots and then disabling fire to stop the vessel.
A U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team (LEDET) on the Holland subsequently boarded the suspected stateless vessel and seized 156 kilograms of contraband, which later tested positive for cocaine.
Three suspected smugglers aboard the go-fast vessel were detained and later turned over to law enforcement officials.
The Alligator is an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat homeported in St. Petersburg.
Operation Caribe Venture supports Joint Interagency Task Force South by focusing on illicit drug trafficking in the Central Caribbean. It is an international operation led by the Commander Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean. U.S. Coast Guard and U.S Navy units assigned to JIATF South participate in this operation, often alongside Dutch Navy and Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard assets.
Press release, Image: USCG