U.S. Coast Guard seizes $37 million worth of cocaine

Jan. 28, 2014 at 9:07 PM

MIAMI, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard Tuesday unloaded $37 million worth of cocaine it said was seized from a boat south of the Dominican Republic.

The Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak hauled the 2,500 pounds of cocaine to port in Miami Beach, Fla.

The Coast Guard said in a release the seizure came as part of a multinational counter-drug operation in which for the first time an armed U.S. Coast Guard helicopter set out on its mission on a foreign-flagged military vessel, the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight.

On Jan. 22, Coast Guard aircraft detected four individuals aboard a 25-foot speed boat carrying suspicious packages. The U.S. and British forces converged on the boat, with the Coast Guard helicopter firing warning shots in an attempt to get it to stop.

"The suspected smugglers were observed jettisoning multiple packages overboard during the pursuit," the Coast Guard said in its release. "The helicopter employed airborne use-of-force and disabled the vessel."

The four suspected smugglers were taken into custody and 45 bales of cocaine were pulled from the water.

"This historic operation is a result of a dedication to improved interoperability and highlights the great success and commitment of our inter-agency partnerships to stop the illegal flow of narcotics into the United States," Rear Adm. Jake Korn said.

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