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U.S. Coast Guard Offloads $12 Million in Cocaine in San Juan

cocaine
Image courtesy USCG

By The Maritime Executive 08-09-2020 10:19:05

Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard transferred custody of two suspected smugglers and 430 kilos of seized cocaine to law enforcement at Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, following the interdiction of a go-fast boat in the Caribbean Sea. The estimated wholesale value of the seized drug shipment is more than $12 million.

“The positive outcome in this case is a reflection of the professionalism and unwavering resolve of the Richard Dixon crew and of our fellow coastguardsmen and federal law enforcement partners,” said Lt. Matthew Monahan, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Richard Dixon's commanding officer.  “Our collective efforts resulted in preventing 430 kilograms of cocaine from reaching the streets."

The interdiction occurred last Sunday afternoon after a U.S. maritime patrol aircraft detected a suspicious 30-foot go-fast boat with two people aboard.

The cutter Richard Dixon responded to the sighting and interdicted the go-fast using the cutter’s small boat. The boarding team located 21 bales of suspected contraband aboard the go-fast, which the smugglers had attempted to conceal with a blue tarp. The boarding team placed the two men in custody and took them aboard the cutter, along with the seized contraband.

The two smugglers and the cocaine - which was destined for the United States market - were transferred to the Coast Guard cutter Joseph Napier and transported to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where federal law enforcement agents took them in custody. 

The Caribbean is a key part of the smuggling pipeline for distributing Colombian cocaine to foreign markets, and the USCG routinely intercepts the drug in quantities rarely found on land. In late July, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Heriberto Hernandez seized 1,375 kilos with an estimated wholesale value of more than $38.5 million from a go-fast boat, then delivered the cargo to law enforcement officials in San Juan.