Coast Guard Offloads $110 Million of Seized Cocaine in Miami Beach

The U.S. Coast Guard unloaded roughly $110 million worth of cocaine in Miami Beach this morning, which actually carried a rough street value of about $330 million. The more than 3,300 kilos of llello were interdicted during two separate incidents as part of the Coast Guard's Operation Martillo, an operation that targets international shipments of cocaine coming into America, usually through Miami.

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The first shipment was found after a USCG cutter received a call about a suspicious fishing boat off the coast of Panama. Officers searched the boat but turned up nothing. Just a short while after leaving however the boat caught fire, and the Coast Guard found 2,400 kilos, or 97 bales, of cocaine floating in the water.

The second shipment was detained after the USCGC Legare tracked down a go-fast boat from Colombia. The boat refused to stop, so a USCG helicopter had to take out its engine from above. About $30 million was found aboard that vessel. Five men were taken into custody.

The drugs, now offloaded by the Legare, will be destroyed.

The USCG routinely offloads seized cocaine in Miami, but Gen. John F. Kelly, the chief of the Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, testified before a Senate committee early this year that the military is only able to intercept about 26 percent of the drugs smuggled into the country from Latin America through Florida.

"Because of asset shortfalls, we're unable to get after 74 percent of suspected maritime drug smuggling," he said at the time. "Without assets, certain things will happen. Much larger amounts of drugs will flow up from Latin America. We'll do less and less engagement with our friends and partners in the region."

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Kyle Munzenrieder