US Coast Guard makes major drug bust in the Caribbean Sea

FLORIDA, Mar 14, CMC – The United States Coast Guard said it seized 3,532 pounds of cocaine, worth US$43 million, from a speedboat in the Caribbean Sea.

The Coast Guard said four suspected drug smugglers, whose nationalities were not revealed, had been detained as a result of the drug bust.

It said an “Interdiction Tactical Squadron”, aboard a helicopter off the 270-foot cutter Northland, spotted the 35-foot speed boat with bales of the drug on its deck in the Caribbean Sea. The Coast Guard did not give the precise location.

It said crewmembers from the Northland stopped the “go-fast” speedboat with an assist from the Key West-based cutter Pea Island, a 110-foot patrol boat.

The Northland’s skipper, Commander Dave Shepardson, said the operation took place “in less-than perfect weather conditions.

“More importantly, the crew feels proud that they took a large quantity of drugs off the streets,” he said in a statement.

Coast Guard spokesman Lieutenant Patrick Montgomery said the speedboat was destroyed “as a hazard to navigation”

The drugs and suspected smugglers were taken here, where the US Justice Department’s drug-smuggling task force is handling the prosecution.

“This successful seizure is just the latest of several recent interdictions to occur under Operation Martillo,” said Captain Brendan McPherson, the Coast Guard’s Miami-based regional enforcement officer.

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