ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak, homeported in Maimi, offloaded approximately $19 million estimated wholesale value of cocaine Thursday at Sector St. Petersburg.
The cocaine was seized in support of Operation Martillo.
During a patrol on October 27, a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment team aboard the Royal Dutch Navy’s HNLMS Amsterdam detected a 26-foot go-fast vessel in the Caribbean Sea. After observing suspicious packages onboard the go-fast, the LEDET deployed a boatcrew to investigate.
Upon arriving on scene, the LEDET boarded the vessel and seized 20 bales which later tested positive for cocaine.
The two suspected smugglers aboard the go-fast vessel were turned over to federal law enforcement officials in St. Petersburg.
This interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, which is one component in the United States government’s whole-of-government approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, and cash. Operation Martillo is an international operation focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies to counter illicit trafficking.