USCG to Offload Cocaine Worth Up to USD 19 Million

Crewmembers from the Coast Guard cutter Northland and Station Miami Beach are scheduled to offload approximately 1,250  pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated value of $19 million at Base Miami Beach, Monday.

While on routine patrol in the Eastern Pacific on May 29, 2013, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf received a report from a Customs and Border Protection aircraft crew of a go-fast vessel approximately 305 miles southwest of Cocos Island, Costa Rica. The crew of the Bertholf was diverted and launched their helicopter crew and both smallboat crews. The helicopter crew located the go fast vessel and passed the location to the smallboat crew.

The smallboat crew stopped the go fast vessel and located a package that later tested positive for cocaine. The boarding team recovered approximately 1,250 pounds of cocaine, detained six suspected smugglers, and sank the vessel as a hazard to navigation.

The suspected smugglers were later transferred to Drug Enforcement Agency officials in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The approximately 1,250 pounds of cocaine were transferred to crewmembers on the Coast Guard Cutter Northland.

The seized contraband is scheduled to be transferred to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, on Monday.

Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by the Joint Interagency Task Force, South (JIATF-S) headquartered in Key West, Fla. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occurs under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, Calif.

The Cutter Bertholf is a 418-foot National Security Cutter homeported in Alameda.

The Cutter Northland is a 270-foot Medium-Endurance cutter homeport in Portsmouth Va.

Press Release, July 1, 2013