SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CMC) — The United States Coast Guard says it has collaborated with the Royal Navy and US law enforcement partners in seizing 1,500 pounds of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea.
The Coast Guard said the drug shipments are estimated to have a wholesale value of more than US$24 million. In addition, it said law enforcement authorities have also seized a go-fast vessel and detained three suspected smugglers.
The interdiction was a result of an international, multi-agency law enforcement effort in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard, Operation Martillo (a joint interagency 15-nation collaborative counter narcotic effort) and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF).
"Our collective aggressive efforts involving international, federal and local enforcement authorities continue to yield positive results," said Rear Admiral Jake Korn, commander of the Coast Guard Seventh District.
"We stand united in our unwavering commitment to protect the citizens of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands from the threats that come from the sea by interdicting these major drug shipments as far from shore as possible, and bringing those responsible to justice" he added.
US Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, said these arrests and multi-kilogramme seizure are a clear indication of the success of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force Initiative.
"Along with our domestic and international law enforcement partners, we will continue to bring our resources to bear to ensure that drug traffickers and their associates are brought to justice for the damage they inflict on our communities," she added.
Since September 2012, the Coast Guard has seized 20,500 kilogrammes of cocaine and 8,500 pounds of marijuana during 22 law enforcement interdictions under Operation Unified Resolve, in partnership with regional law enforcement authorities in the Caribbean. The wholesale value for these seizures is worth more than US$690.3 million, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard said CCSF is an initiative of the US Attorney's Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organisations operating in the Caribbean.