A Coast Guard cocaine seizure was made on Thursday with more than 25 tons of cocaine brought ashore in South Florida.
The tons of cocaine are said to be worth at least $715 million, according to NBC Miami.
Coast Guard officers said during a press conference on Thursday that the cocaine came from “27 separate vessel interdictions and five bale recovery operations,” which were located in Central and South America for the past three months, noted by NBC Miami.
The drugs were inside pallets with labels, such as “white sugar” or “pork.”
Vice Admiral Karl Schultz, Coast Guard commander in the Atlantic, said the seizures are part of an effort to target those who are bringing the drug to dry land and dividing it up into smaller portions for smuggling in the U.S. and Canada, NBC Miami noted.
“When we interdict drugs at sea, they are large quantities,” Schultz said. “That’s kind of the impact of doing this at sea.”
“Today we’ll be offloading 53,000 pounds,” Schultz said, per the Sun Sentinel. “That’s equivalent to about 24,000 kilograms of cocaine…with an estimated wholesale value of $715 million. That’s probably equivalent to 2-plus billion on the streets of America.”
According to authorities, there are about 100 smugglers currently under suspicion, and some are being prosecuted right now in South Florida, The Associated Press reported.
Commodore Craig Baines, commander of the Royal Canadian Naval Atlantic Fleet, said there are two British vessels based in Columbia that seized more than 3,000 pounds of cocaine Thursday.
“It is a tangible example of our collective efforts to keep narcotics off our streets while at the same time promoting regional security,” Baines said, according to the AP.
Hamilton Capt. Scott Clendenin said smugglers are always changing the ways that they go about bringing drugs ashore, which is why authorities have upped the antes more recently.
“It’s a very difficult operating environment. They have an advantage but we are taking over that advantage,” Clendenin said, according to the AP.
“The 53,000 pounds of seized cocaine coming off our decks today is the product of partnerships and the collaboration of U.S. Southern Command, the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State, and Justice and the Royal Canadian Navy,” Clendenin said, per the Sun Sentinel.
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