US Coast Guard offloads over $101 million in illegal drugs seized in the Caribbean Sea

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The US Coast Guard said the crew of its cutter Northland (WMEC 904) landed in Port Everglades, Fla., Friday about 5,363 pounds of cocaine seized from the Caribbean Sea. The cocaine is worth approximately US$101 million.

The Coast Guard said 11 suspected smugglers, who were apprehended, face prosecution in US federal court by the Department of Justice.

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The drugs have been banned, in five separate cases.

Coast Guard Cutter Valiant (WMEC 621); and Coast Guard Cutter Venturous (WMEC 625), embarked in the Coast Guard Interdiction Helicopter Squadron helicopter.

“We are proud of the drug seizures our sister ships’ crews have recently made,” said Commanding Officer Andrew Dennelly, Commanding Officer of Northland. “We are honored to share a role in helping to remove narcotics from American streets and bring justice to those who attempt to bring illicit substances to American shores.

“We are always ready to protect those at sea, to protect America from threats from the sea, and to protect the sea itself,” he added.

The US Coast Guard said Northland’s 57-day patrol in the Windward Passage, Old Bahama Channel and South Florida Straits focused primarily on deterring dangerous and irregular maritime migration.

Initially, a suspicious vessel is detected and monitored by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Fla., the U.S. Coast Guard said.

He said once a interdiction becomes imminent, the law enforcement phase of the operation begins and control of the operation passes to the US Coast Guard throughout this phase.

The Coast Guard said interdictions in the Caribbean Sea are carried out by its members under the authority and control of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, headquartered in Miami.

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