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The crew of the Valiant offloaded cocaine worth more than $48 million at the Coast Guard's Miami Beach base Friday. Commander John Dettleff described how the drugs were seized.
The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Valiant offloaded more than 3,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $48 million at its Miami Beach base Friday.
The massive amount of drugs was seized by the Valiant and three other ships in three different busts in the Caribbean beginning on May 31, the Coast Guard said. They were part of Operation Martillo, an interagency operation that seeks to deny international criminal organizations Central American shipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash.
The 45-year-old Miami Beach-based cutter eased into port at midday Friday, and within minutes crewmen were bringing the cocaine, still in its original black plastic wrapping, off board.
When the Coast Guard seized $32.5 million worth of cocaine from a go-fast boat on May 31, crew members were forced to shoot on the vessel, Commander John Dettleff said.
"They didn’t stop, they started jettisoning the contraband overboard,” he said. “Then we proceeded to what’s called disabling fire, where we actually had the marksmen fire .50-caliber rounds into the engine cowling of the outboard. That stopped the vessel.”
In another incident on June 15, a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment on the Navy frigate the USS Carr intercepted a 40-foot drug runner off the coast of Colombia. Three suspects were arrested along with about $3 million worth of cocaine.
And on June 10, the Coast Guard teamed up with the Navy frigate the USS Elrod to stop a suspected smuggling vessel carrying more than 1,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $13 million. Fort suspected smugglers were taken into custody, the Coast Guard said.
"The 100-kilo interdiction was actually on a U.S.-flagged sailing vessel that we interdicted, took in custody, towed from south of Jamaica,” said Dettleff, after returning to port from his last mission aboard the Valiant.
The cocaine will be destroyed, the Coast Guard said.