The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday offloaded 1,735 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated $56 million and handed over eight suspected drug smugglers to authorities.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tarpon transferred the cocaine and suspected drug smugglers at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, Florida.
The contraband and detainees were seized April 12 through April 21 during four separate interdictions by Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Teams (LEDET) aboard several Coast Guard, foreign coalition and partner agency boats in coastal waters along the Central American coastline in support of Operation Martillo.
The most noteworthy and fruitful interdiction took place April 19 when Coast Guard LEDET personnel embarked on the USS Zephyr (PC 8), a U.S. Navy Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship home ported in Mayport, and coalition forces intercepted 750 kilograms of contraband and five suspected drug smugglers while on patrol in international waters 120 miles south west Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
The Zephyr, along with the Karel Doorman-class multi-purpose frigate HNLMS Van Amstel of the Royal Netherlands Navy, pursued and Coast Guard LEDET boarded a small panga fishing boat in the Caribbean Sea. The crews found and confiscated 750 kilograms of cocaine, a wholesale value of $22.5 million, and detained the five suspected drug smugglers.
The contraband and detainees were transferred and offloaded by the crew of the Cutter Tarpon, an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat homeported in St. Petersburg.