Coast Guard seizes $17 million in cocaine

By ELIZABETH KOH | The Miami Herald | Published: November 21, 2015

(Tribune News Service) —The Coast Guard offloaded 515 kilograms of cocaine — worth about $17 million — at its Miami Beach station Friday after intercepting four suspected smugglers off the coast of the Dominican Republic.

The drugs, confiscated as part of Operation Caribbean Venture, were seized from a go-fast vessel southeast of Isla Beata, an island in the Dominican Republic. A Coast Guard detachment team on the HNLMS Friesland, a Royal Netherlands Navy patrol vessel, boarded and found 22 packages containing cocaine. The packages and all four suspected smugglers were taken into U.S. custody on the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber.

Operation Caribbean Venture is an international effort pairing Coast Guard and Navy units with parallel Dutch agencies in Caribbean waters.

"This seizure highlights how effectively the U.S Coast Guard and our Allied partners are working together to disrupt the flow of illicit drugs from South America into the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe," Cmdr. Timothy Cronin, deputy chief of law enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District, said in a press release.

The Coast Guard has confiscated more than 222 metric tons of cocaine in both Pacific and Atlantic waters since October of last year, valued at about $7.4 billion. The agency and its partners have also seized more than 145 vessels and detained more than 500 smugglers in 200 cases.

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