Miami, FL

U.S. Coast Guard Intercepts Go-Fast Boat With $95M in Cocaine

Desiree Peralta

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The USCG Cutter Tampa crew spent Tuesday in Miami unloading nearly three tons of cocaine that they intercepted off the coast of Colombia.

On April 9, a maritime patrol flight spotted "a low profile" and a cutter police team detained three suspects and discovered 87 bales of cocaine worth an estimated $ 94.6 million. Three suspects were arrested. The Coast Guard says the small boat was destroyed because it was a navigational hazard.

"This event is the perfect example of numerous key partners joining our efforts to counter transnational criminal organizations seeking to exploit the maritime environment," said Lt. Commander Jason Neiman, public affairs officer for the Seventh District. "By strengthening partnerships, we counter threats together."

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The release highlights that suspects taken into custody are provided, shelter, food, water, and "basic medical attention." Furthermore, USCG crew members reportedly donned personal protective equipment to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure. 

"The suspects are reported to be in good health," USCG claimed

The Coast Guard also reported that they brought 1,052 pounds of cocaine valued at nearly $ 20 million to San Juan on Tuesday after seizing the drug approximately 45 nautical miles north of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The crew of a maritime patrol aircraft from the Caribbean Air and Marine Branch Customs and Border Protection detected a ship on Saturday with three people on board suspected of drug trafficking.

After intercepting the ship, it was discovered that one of the suspected smugglers was injured and needed to be evacuated. A Coast Guard aircrew transported the person to a hospital in Puerto Rico for further medical care.

The Coast Guard embarked on the remaining two suspected smugglers and recovered about 18 bales, which weighed approximately 1,052 pounds and tested positive for cocaine.

"The three suspects are two men and one woman, who are facing possible federal prosecution on criminal charges of drug trafficking," the Coast Guard said.

Coronavirus disrupted drug trafficking, but police foresee a resurgence

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Since April 2020, Southern Command initiated what was then known as Enhanced Counter-Narcotics (NC) Operations in the Western Hemisphere to increase drug disruption.

"Since then, our key partners have been involved in more than 60% of drug seizures up from 50% in 2019," according to the Coast Guard.

The coronavirus disrupted drug trafficking and the federal authority foresees a dangerous resurgence of consumption and sale when the pandemic ends. With the state's cities turned into ghost towns, The police warn that traffickers saved their narcotics and their millions of dollars, waiting for the market, with its bars, clubs, and parties, to reopen to re-launch their business.

A threat that this agent, with three decades of experience in the DEA, says that his officers are prepared to face, without hiding what is to come.

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