Coast Guard off­loads 15 tons of seized cocaine, mar­i­juana

Capt: ‘We con­tinue to take the fight to the drug car­tels’

Orlando Sentinel - - Local & State - By Wayne K. Rous­tan

Fort Laud­erdale – Nearly 15 tons of drugs seized by the U.S. Coast Guard, at an es­ti­mated value of $408 mil­lion, were off­loaded Tuesday at Port Ever­glades.

About 23,000 pounds of cocaine and ap­prox­i­mately 6,900 pounds of mar­i­juana were con­fis­cated in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters off the coasts of Mex­ico, Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, and in the Caribbean Sea. Four Coast Guard cut­ters and two U.S. Navy ships com­bined for 11 sep­a­rate seizures aboard sus­pected drug-smug­gling ves­sels since April 1.

“We con­tinue to take the fight to the drug car­tels and make an im­pact on these crim­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tions who spread this poi­son on our streets,” said Capt. Jef­frey Ran­dall, com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of the Coast Guard Cutter James.

Sam­ples of the drugs will be kept for ev­i­dence to pros­e­cute the smug­glers, the Coast Guard said, but the bulk of it will be given to fed­eral au­thor­i­ties to be de­stroyed per stan­dard pro­ce­dure.

The Coast Guard said it has seized more than 1 mil­lion pounds of cocaine in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters over the past three years.

Speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence Tuesday, of­fi­cials said about 600 drug-smug­gling de­tainees have been pros­e­cuted in fed­eral court in re­cent years.

ERICK A. PAR­SONS/USCG

The U.S. Coast Guard off­loaded about 23,000 pounds of cocaine and ap­prox­i­mately 6,900 pounds of mar­i­juana at Port Ever­glades on Tuesday.

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