3500 pounds of cocaine seized near Puerto Rico; 4 arrested

"I am extremely proud of the crew of Coast Guard Cutter James and our embarked HITRON aviation detachment for a highly successful inaugural patrol", said Vice Adm. Karl Schultz, commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area. The drugs were seized along Central and South America by the U.S. Coast Guard and HMCS Saskatoon, which joined the operation in February.

Officials say the cocaine is worth an estimated $420 million.

A massive drug bust on the high seas as the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted millions of dollars' worth of cocaine - which will be unloaded at Port Everglades today.

US Coast Guard captain Mark J Fedor told reporters the sheer amount of cocaine seized enabled authorities to 'own the night'. She said two of the men were arrested after they jumped into the water.

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Five of the searches were conducted by the Coast Guard's helicopter interdiction squad, which alone seized 5.19 tons of the total load.

The Coast Guard Cutter Tampa was responsible for three cases, seizing an estimated 3 tons of cocaine.

Drug smugglers in a speed boat throw bales of cocaine overboard after being spotted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. "When those smugglers are racing across the Caribbean or the Pacific, they're just not carrying cocaine". They're delivering violence, corruption and instability.

Authorities arrested more than 30 drug smugglers over the course of the almost month long mission who will face prosecution in the U.S. Fedor noted how important these seizures are during a time when the cocoa crop is thriving in South America.

  • Adam Floyd