U.S. Customs and Border Protection made an interesting discovery back on February 27 along the Miami River. Agents found 797 pounds of cocaine hidden inside a boat on the river, leading to one of the largest cocaine seizures in Miami in recent memory.
The Miami Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) tipped the CBP to the suspicious boat. Officers, based at the port, then began searching a 180-foot cargo vessel. The cocaine was well-hidden, but officers became suspicious about a compartment inside the boat's ballast tank. That compartment had been hidden under a layer of concrete, and CBP had to bring out drills to get through it.
Once officers had accessed the compartment, they found the nearly 800-pound haul. It was divided into 310 neat packages and had an estimated street value of $9 million. In other words, it could have fueled Miami for at least a few hours of Winter Music Conference partying.
“Customs and Border Protection at the Port of Miami... works very closely with our law enforcement and security partners to disrupt and ultimately close off pathways through which narcotics are introduced into the United States,” said Diane Sabatino, CBP Miami Seaport Port Director, in a statement.
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“This is an outstanding example of the excellent work being performed by our officers in stemming the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. I commend the effort and dedication demonstrated by our frontline officers in securing our borders,” added CBP Director of Field Operations Miami Vernon Foret.
Customs and Borders did not disclose further information, including whether any arrests were made or where the cocaine had originated.
CBP last made a major cocaine bust back in 2012, when it discovered 459 pounds of cocaine aboard a boat at the Miami Seaport. That haul had a street value of $7.3 million.
Though not quite as large, customs also found 178 pounds of cocaine aboard a freighter at the Port of Miami back in November 2014. That had a street value of $2.4 million.