Miami Beach, FL, United States (4E) – The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutter Legare on Tuesday brought and offloaded at its Miami base 3.5 tons of cocaine seized from two vessels interdicted in the Caribbean Sea last month.
The 127 bales of cocaine with a street value of $350 million were handed to federal agents and transferred to a waiting trailer for destruction.
The cocaine packed as 80-pound bricks were seized through the help of authorities in Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica in an operation called Martillo launched in 2012, according to Marilyn Fajardo, USCG deputy public affairs officer.
Part of the contraband was nearly 2,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $90 million on the street that was recovered from waters between Colombia and Honduras on March 19. The cocaine hoard were thrown overboard by crews of a go-fast vessel that an armed USCG helicopter disabled.
The Legare deployed the helicopter after spotting the Colombian-flagged vessel and fired at its engine to disable it. All five Colombian crews were arrested and turned over to Colombia for prosecution.
Another portion of the drug, more than 5,000 pounds of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of $80, was found floating in Caribbean water after a USCG team aboard the Canadian naval ship Glace Bay boarded a fishing vessel about 100 miles south of Jamaica on March 15.
Last year, the USCG’s total cocaine haul was 31,000 pounds worth $92 million at wholesale.