MIAMI, United States (CMC) – The United States Coast Guard says it has seized drugs estimated at more than US$11 million during operations in the Caribbean Sea this month.
It said that the drugs including 254 kilograms of cocaine and 3,662 pounds of marijuana were seized as part of Operation Martillo, which is one component in the United States Government’s approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as trans-shipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash through the Caribbean Sea.
The coast guard said that, on September 3, it boarded a Panamanian flagged vessel, southeast of Nicaragua, after receiving permission from the Panamanian Government.
It said the boarding team discovered 254 kilograms of cocaine in a hidden compartment worth an estimated wholesale value of US$8.5 million.
The suspects were transferred to law enforcement authorities in Tampa, Florida on September 12, the coast guard said.
Also on September 3, the Coast Guard said it received a report of three people clinging to a capsized vessel and following their rescue, 68 bales of marijuana was discovered floating in the water.
The Coast Guard said that it recovered 3,600 pounds of marijuana with an estimated wholesale value of US$3.3 million.
“These seizures highlight the hard work and dedication of the US Coast Guard and our interagency and international partners in stopping illegal drugs from reaching the streets of the US and those of our Caribbean neighbours,” said Lieutenant Earl Potter, commanding officer of the Miami based Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered.
The coast guard said these two cases represent “a fraction” of the recent success it has had against maritime drug smuggling