Coast Guard seizes $34M worth of cocaine, detains 3 smuggling suspects
The U.S. Coast Guard on Friday seized 2,546 pounds of cocaine -- worth more than $34 million -- and detains three smuggling suspects during at-sea interdiction south of St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
The crew of a patrol aircraft spotted the 30-foot go-fast vessel Thursday night. Another crew began a pursuit from San Juan, caught the vessel, and seized 25 bales of cocaine.
“Interdicting drug smugglers at sea in the middle of the night is a complex and dangerous operation only possible through the resolve of federal and regional law enforcement authorities committed to safeguarding Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from the threats that come from the sea,” said Capt. Drew W. Pearson, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Juan.
“These arrests and multi-kilogram seizure are a clear indication of the success of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force Initiative,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement counterparts remain committed to using every law enforcement tool available to attack these criminal organizations and ensure that drug traffickers and their associates are brought to justice for the damage they inflict on our communities.”
Since Sept. 2012, law enforcement agencies have seized 27,650 kilograms of cocaine worth about $829 million, according to the Coast Guard.