Guatemala, US Coast Guard Bust 3 Tons of Cocaine on Ship

Personnel assigned to the Cyclone-class patrol coastal USS Zephyr intercepted a small boat carrying 35 bales, approximately 700-1050 kg of cocaine while on a routine patrol in the Caribbean sea, Oct. 29, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo/Michael Hendricks)
Personnel assigned to the Cyclone-class patrol coastal USS Zephyr intercepted a small boat carrying 35 bales, approximately 700-1050 kg of cocaine while on a routine patrol in the Caribbean sea, Oct. 29, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo/Michael Hendricks)

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalan authorities and the U.S. Coast Guard teamed up for the largest cocaine seizure in the Central American country's history, finding the haul on a cargo ship in international waters off the Pacific coast, officials announced Tuesday.

A Guatemalan army statement said three tons of drugs were hidden in false-bottomed compartments on the Tanzania-flagged ship. The inspection was continuing and the figure could rise, it said.

The army said the cargo carrier arrived in port Monday night, several days after it was stopped some 300 nautical miles from the coast.

Military spokesman Oscar Perez confirmed that the substance in question was cocaine. He said U.S. authorities had detected the illicit shipment, were carrying out the search of the vessel with the assistance of local authorities and would be the ones to take custody of the drugs.

Guatemala's navy reported that 13 people were detained, including citizens of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

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