Coast Guard displays $14M worth of seized cocaine, marijuana

A crew member aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant offloads a bale of marijuana at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, Florida, June 12. While on patrol, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute interdicted 3,100 pounds of marijuana northeast of Panama. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney.

On May 22, 14 bales of cocaine that were jettisoned from a go-fast boat were recovered after the Columbian Air Force maritime patrol alerted two cutters —Bear and Vigiliant— to a suspicious vessel northwest of Columbia, the Coast Guard said.

And on May 27, a helicopter crew from the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute saw another go-fast boat northeast of Panama tossing packages over the side as the cutter deployed its small boat. The Coast Guard says that operation resulted in the seizure of 62 bales of marijuana. Additionally, four people were taken into custody and are being processed by federal law enforcement officials in Miami.

“These individual seizures not only keep drugs off the streets and reduce the destabilizing effects they have on society, but they get our investigatory agencies one step closer to disabling the transnational criminal organizations that threaten the prosperity and security of free nations,” Cmdr. Tim Cronin, 7th District deputy chief of enforcement said in a statement released by the Coast Guard.

Both seizures were carried out as part of Operation Martillo (Hammer), which is part of the U.S. government’s strategy to deter Central American shipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash.

The 723 pounds of seized cocaine and 3,100 pounds of seized marijuana were offloaded from the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant Friday morning at the agency’s base in Miami Beach along the MacArthur Causeway.

The Coast Guard says the drugs — 723 pounds of cocaine and 3,100 pounds of marijuana— have an estimated wholesale value of $13.7 million.