$41 Million in Drugs Offloaded at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach

Lt. Michael Cortese directs the offload of seized cocaine and marijuana at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, Fla., Sept. 29, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Barney)
Lt. Michael Cortese directs the offload of seized cocaine and marijuana at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, Fla., Sept. 29, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Barney)

More than $40 million worth of cocaine and marijuana -- intercepted in the Caribbean Sea from suspected smugglers -- was offloaded Tuesday at the Coast Guard's Miami Beach base.

The drugs -- 1,100 kilograms of cocaine and 4,420 pounds of marijuana -- were confiscated as part of Operation Martillo and Unified Resolve. Some of the drugs came from a vessel southeast of Isla Saona, an island off the Dominican Republic.

Both missions are aimed at stopping illegal drugs from coming into the country.

"These seizures highlight how effectively the U.S Coast Guard and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection are working together to disrupt the flow of illicit drugs from South America into the United States and Caribbean nations,'' Cmdr. Timothy Cronin, deputy chief of law enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District, said in a press release.

Some of the drugs were seized Sept. 20 when a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft -- part of Operation Unified Resolve -- spotted a suspicious go-fast vessel southeast of Isla Saona, an island off the Dominican Republic. The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon responded as four packages were thrown into the water, the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard recovered 49 bales of marijuana, weighing 2,450 pounds. Three suspects were taken into custody.

"We have to keep these drugs from penetrating our borders," Cronin said in the release. "More importantly, we have to get after the organized criminal networks that fuel the violence and instability in the Western Hemisphere."

Since October 2014, the Coast Guard has removed 130 metric tons of cocaine worth $4.3 billion, the most since 2008.

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