The United States Coast Guard says the crew of its cutter Northland (WMEC 904) on Friday offloaded in Port Everglades, Florida, about 5,363 pounds of cocaine seized in the Caribbean Sea. The cocaine is worth an estimated US$101 million.
The Coast Guard said 11 suspected smugglers, who were apprehended, face prosecution in US federal court by the Department of Justice.
The drugs were interdicted, during five separate cases.
Coast Guard Cutter Valiant (WMEC 621); and Coast Guard Cutter Venturous (WMEC 625), embarked Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Squadron helicopter.
“We are proud of the drug seizures the crews of our sister ships recently completed,” said Commander Andrew Dennelly, commanding officer of Northland. “We are honored to share a role in helping remove narcotics from US streets and delivering justice to those attempting to bring illicit substances to U.S. shores.
“We are always ready to protect those on the sea, protect America from threats delivered by the sea and protect the sea itself,” he added.
The US Coast Guard said Northland’s 57-day patrol of the Windward Passage, Old Bahama Channel and South Florida Straits primarily focused on deterring dangerous and irregular maritime migration.
Initially, a suspect vessel is detected and monitored by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida, the US Coast Guard said.
It said once an interdiction becomes imminent, the law enforcement phase of the operation begins, and control of the operation shifts to the US Coast Guard during throughout this phase.
The coast guard said interdictions in the Caribbean Sea are performed by its members under the authority and control of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, headquartered in Miami.