The coke was captured during a mission September 3. The Coast Guard flagged a suspicious Panamanian sail boat southeast of Nicaragua. The Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered tried to make contact with the crew to no avail. After receiving permission from the Panamanian government, the cutter launched a manned small boat and the crew boarded the shady sail boat. That's when they found 254 kilograms of cocaine hidden in various compartments aboard the vessel.
The cocaine's arrival in America was preceded by the arrival of the crew who were taken into custody in Tampa on September 12.
On that same day, the Coast Guard also received a report of three people clinging to an overturned vessel in an undisclosed location. The Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant Arrived on scene and rescued the three people, but also found bales and bales of marijuana floating nearby. All together, the marijuana weighed 3,600 pounds and was worth about $3.3 million.
"These seizures highlight the hard work and dedication of the U.S. Coast Guard and our interagency and international partners in stopping illegal drugs from reaching the streets of the U.S. and those of our Caribbean neighbors,” said Lieutenant Earl Potter, Commanding Officer of the Miami based Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered, in a statement.
The Coast Guard also boasts that this has been a record year for them for drug seizures. Since last October, they've seized a whopping 130 metric tons of cocaine. That's $4.3 billion worth of coke. They've also arrested 439 suspected smugglers and seized 135 suspicious vessels. The efforts are part of an ongoing crackdown called Operation Martillo.