The United States Coast Guard says it seized more than two million (US) in cocaine and nabbed four suspected smugglers in separate incidents in the Caribbean Sea.
It said that Caribbean Border Interagency Group law enforcement authorities apprehended three suspected smugglers and seized about US$1 million in cocaine following the interdiction of a go-fast vessel Monday off Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
The Coast Guard said the interdictions were the result of ongoing multi-agency law enforcement efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve.
“Our collective efforts and interagency cooperation are key in stopping drug laden go-fasts from reaching Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands,” said Capt. Eric P. King, Commander of US Coast Guard Sector San Juan.
“Within two days, the strong partnerships and efficient coordination within the Caribbean Border Interagency Group, along with the cooperation of augmenting Coast Guard aircraft and US Navy assets, contributed to the interdiction of two drug smuggling go-fasts and seven smugglers being brought to justice,” he added.
The Coast Guard said that in the first instance, the crew of a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft on a routine patrol detected a suspicious 20-foot go-fast vessel transiting at night towards Puerto Rico without navigational lights, about 22 nautical miles off the northern coast of the island.
It said during the operation that followed the crew recovered multiple bales with a combined weight of 32.2 kilograms, 27 bricks, which tested positive for cocaine.
“The Zephyr destroyed the go-fast vessel as a hazard to navigation. The Coast Guard Cutter Yellowfin later rendezvoused with the Zephyr and embarked the suspected smugglers and contraband for final transport and transfer to federal law enforcement authorities in Mayaguez [Puerto Rico].”