cocaine bust
Twitter: USCGSoutheast

Two Years Ago, $466 Million Worth of Cocaine Was Seized in the Pacific

The U.S. Coast Guard collected nearly 35,000 pounds of cocaine from 21 different vessels.

Six U.S. Coast Guard crews worked together to bust what looks to be a massive drug smuggling operation. In total, they found 35,000 pounds (17 tons) of cocaine, worth a total of $466 million on 21 different vessels in the eastern Pacific Ocean, some of which were fishing boats and others that were speedboats designated to evade a pursuit.

Authorities stopped the drug-smuggling vessels off the coast of South America all the way up to Central America and Mexico, seizing all the drugs and detaining 49 people.

Cmdr. Michael Sharp, who led the cutter Forward, indicated in a report that drugs have been found over the last three months, all in boats equipped to transport illegal goods. The cutter Forward managed to seize an estimated total of 14,207 pounds alone.

"The interdiction and disruption of more than 17 tons of cocaine is a result of the collaboration and coordination of multiple Coast Guard and inter-agency assets to address the complex maritime challenge of transnational criminal organizations," he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Adm. Karl Schultz told the Associated Press the Coast Guard has seized around 1.3 million pounds of cocaine in the last three years and detained around 1,200 suspects in the area. He also said the cocaine is usually moving from Colombia to the U.S.

The drugs were then taken to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which has seen a lot of the Coast Guard in the last year. Dating back to February 2018, there have been six major drug off-loadings at the seaport, totaling somewhere around 57 tons of seized cocaine.