Crew members aboard Coast Guard Cutter Marlin brought home to St. Petersburg, Florida, 17 bales of cocaine worth more than $11 million, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
In one encounter, a maritime patrol aircraft crew detected a suspicious go-fast vessel in the western Caribbean Sea Dec. 29. The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter “Forward” was notified and began pursuit when the suspects aboard the go-fast vessel began to jettison bales of suspected contraband in an attempt to escape.
The “Forward” deployed a boat crew to recover the bales, which later tested positive for cocaine, while the cutter continued pursuit, the Coast Guard said.
A helicopter crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter “Confidence,” compelled the vessel to stop through the use of warning shots and disabling fire.
After the go-fast vessel was disabled, the crew aboard the “Forward” boarded and detained the crew. The cocaine was later transferred from the “Forward” to the “Marlin.”
The interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, which seeks to deny smugglers the use of Central American coastal areas as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, and cash.