MIAMI – The Coast Guard on Thursday offloaded in the port of Fort Lauderdale, 16.8 tons of cocaine seized in international Pacific Ocean waters off the coasts of Central and South America and having a black market value of almost $500 million.
Several Coast Guard patrol boats and a Canadian navy vessel intercepted the drugs in about 20 operations in the eastern Pacific, US authorities said.
Capt. Scott Clendenin, the commander of the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton, which seized 5,359 kilograms of the drug in six different operations, said in Fort Lauderdale that the success of the operation was due to the “cooperation” among several entities.
He said that building international alliances is the core element of the effort, praising the “coordination” of all participants in the operations against drug trafficking.
After the Hamilton, the patrol boat that seized the most illegal drug was the Mohawk, which confiscated about 2,800 kilograms of cocaine in three operations, while the Dependable seized 2,640 kilos in other operations of its own.
The Coast Guard said that it had increased its presence in the waters of the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean because they are transit zones for the drug from Central and South America.