ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores, homeported in Miami, offloaded approximately $4 million estimated wholesale value of cocaine Feb. 17 at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg.
On Feb. 11, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Seventh District command center received a report from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight of a 30-foot go-fast vessel with suspicious packages aboard southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. An armed Coast Guard helicopter, aboard the RFA Wave Knight, launched to respond. When the helicopter arrived on scene, the crew fired warning shots in an attempt to get the vessel to stop. The suspected smuggler complied and stopped the vessel.
RFA Wave Knight then launched their small boat with a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment to board and detain the suspected smugglers. During the boarding, the Coast Guard boarding team recovered several packages totaling 171 kilograms that later tested positive for cocaine.
The suspected smugglers were brought to the U.S. and transferred to awaiting law enforcement authorities.
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.