U.S. Navy Destroyer Seizes $6 Million in Cocaine

Image courtesy USN

Published Aug 30, 2020 6:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

Last week, the destroyer USS Kidd seized 225 kilos of cocaine and apprehended three suspected smugglers in an interdiction of a drug smuggling go-fast boat in the Caribbean. 

Two suspected smugglers are Dominican Republic nationals and one is Colombian, and the U.S. attorney for Puerto Rico will be handling prosecution. The seized cocaine has a wholesale value of about $6 million.

“The strong relationship and collaboration between the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy continuously yields positive outcomes as evidenced by this case,” said Rear Adm. Eric Jones, commander of Coast Guard Seventh District.  “The shared unwavering resolve and daily interaction between our Department of Defense and local and federal law enforcement partners in the region help safeguard and strengthen the Caribbean region against this threat."

During a patrol, the USS Kidd’s helicopter crew spotted a suspicious go-fast vessel in the Caribbean. USS Kidd coordinated with the Coast Guard Seventh District to intercept the vessel.

The helicopter crew watched the suspected smugglers jettison bales into the water as the go-fast sought to evade capture. The USS Kidd's embarked Coast Guard boarding team intercepted the go-fast and recovered eight bales from the water. The seized contraband tested positive for cocaine.

Image courtesy USN

The Coast Guard Cutter Resolute transported the suspected smugglers and seized contraband to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Saturday, where awaiting U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and DEA special agents took the suspects into custody.

Since April, when the White House ordered an increased anti-trafficking effort off Central and South America, the U.S. Navy has increased its participation in the long-running counternarcotics mission in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. The additional assets have increased the rate of cocaine seizures in the region, including drug shipments potentially bound for the United States.