Video: U.S. Coast Guard Intercepts Go-Fast Boat With $95M in Cocaine

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Published Apr 20, 2021 8:49 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Tuesday, the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Tampa offloaded about 5,500 pounds of cocaine worth nearly $95 million at a pier in Miami. The delivery was the result of an interdiction of a low profile vessel off the coast of Punta Gallinas, Colombia earlier this month. 

A maritime patrol flight spotted the suspect vessel on April 9, and a law enforcement team from the cutter detained three suspects and uncovered 87 bales of cocaine. The suspects were detained and are reported to be in good health. The smuggling vessel itself was destroyed as a hazard to navigation.

"This event is the perfect example of numerous key partners unifying our efforts to counter transnational criminal organizations who look to exploit the maritime environment," said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Neiman, Seventh District public affairs officer. "By strengthening partnerships, we counter threats together."

Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crew members were equipped with proper PPE to minimize any exposure to any possible case of COVID-19. None of the suspects were reported to have any COVID-19 related symptoms.

The interdiction was the result of the work of multiple federal agencies in support of U.S. Southern Command's stepped-up counternarcotics operations. On April 1, 2020, in response to a directive from the Trump White House, Southern Command increased the tempo and resourcing for its work intercepting and seizing drugs. The U.S. Navy provided additional surface vessels for counternarcotics missions in the Southcom AOR, creating more platforms for Coast Guard boarding teams. The elevated operational approach has become enduring under the current administration, according to Southcom.