Another load of cocaine confiscated on high seas in Caribbean

U.S.Southern Command photo Sailors prepare to hoist confiscated bales of drugs onto the USSD Elrod.

U.S. sailors and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are having good hunting in the Caribbean. The latest gofast boat to fall into the hands of the military yielded 57 bales weighing 1,720 kilos or some 3,790 pounds of cocaine, reported the U.S. Southern Command.

The boat was the guided-missile frigate USS Elrod, which is serving as part of Operation Martillo, a multi-national effort to interdict cocaine shipments in the Caribbean and Pacific.

A report released this week outlined events in mid-May when a helicopter based on the Elrod spotted a suspected drug smuggling boat in the Caribbean. The military does not give an exact location, but the event is believed to have taken place May 17.

The occupants of the boat began dumping bales into the sea, but the crew of the helicopter marked the area, and a rigid-hull inflatable boat from Elrod captured the five individuals on the boat, said the Southern Command. The suspects first went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then to Tampa for trial.

Members of the Elrod crew also recovered 89 bales of cocaine April 20 off Panamá when it pursued two 40-foot, twin-engine vessels in conjunction with Panamá authorities. Those bales weighed 4,840 pounds, said the Southern Command.

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