Port Canaveral, FL, United States (4E) – U.S. Coast Guard crews have unloaded 2.6 tons of cocaine at Port Canaveral, Florida Thursday after the 75-bale load was recently discovered at sea.
According to a press release, the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa pulled in more than 5,000 pounds of cocaine, worth approximately $55 million, after alleged drug smugglers abandoned the bales when they fled from authorities.
A Canadian Maritime Patrol Aircraft operating in the area alerted Tampa, and the cutter responded by launching its helicopter crew, based in Jacksonville, to chase and stop the vessel.
The suspicious vessel was able to escape, but the Tampa crewmembers managed to locate and recover the contraband.
Commander Susan Polizzotto, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, said the entire operation ran like clockwork and the cutter and helicopter crews did exceptionally well.
She added “we recognize the vital support of international partners that enables us to keep dangerous drugs off our streets.”
The operation was part of a U.S. government effort called Operation Martillo, which focuses on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets to stop drug trafficking.
The cutter Tampa, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter, is homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia.