U.S. Coast Guard Captures $350 Million Worth of Cocaine in the Caribbean


The U.S. Coast Guard is showing off the fruits of a successful drug-seizing tour in Miami. Crew members aboard the USCGC Legare unloaded more than 3.5 tons of cocaine from the Caribbean on Tuesday afternoon.

It was the culmination of the ship’s seven-week deployment patrolling Caribbean waters, reported CBS News correspondent Vicente Arenas. The cocaine was uncovered in two separate seizures in March and have a street value of more than $350 million.

On March 15, a fishing boat believed to be carrying drugs off the coast of Panama caught fire and sank after law enforcement teams boarded and searched the vessel. Shortly after, 97 bales of cocaine were found floating in the water.

Just days later, a ship in the Caribbean — allegedly operated by drug dealers — was intercepted. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter shot out the boat’s engine, prompting the smugglers to try and dump the cocaine off the side of the ship. Members of the Coast Guard retrieved the drugs and sent the men to Colombia for prosecution.

“In this case we were successful in finding two drug-smuggling vessels using our capabilities, in particular our air use of forces, to stop the drug runners and to recover that cocaine,” Capt. Brendan McPherson said.

Eighty percent of the cocaine brought into the U.S. travels over water. The Coast Guard is the only agency that can enforce both U.S. and international laws on the high seas.

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