The U.S. Coast Guard seized $32.5 million worth of cocaine from a go-fast boat in the Caribbean Sea, authorities said.
The cocaine, which was contained in 43 bales and weighed an estimated 2,654 pounds, was interdicted as part of Operation Martillo to prevent the transport of illicit drugs, weapons and cash.
“It was immensely gratifying for me to see our seasoned, proficient shipmates leading our new folks, and having both groups unite with our embarked aircrew to pull off a perfectly executed interdiction helping to keep drugs off our streets," said Cmrd. John Dettleff.
The helicopter crew of the Valiant, a 210-foot cutter based in Miami, spotted the “suspicious bales” and five crew members on May 31, the Coast Guard said.
The five men, driving erratically in an attempt to escape, ignored commands to stop and began to throw the bales of cocaine overboard, according to authorities. The Coast Guard eventually fired at one of the boat’s outboard engines and boarded the vessel.
The Nicaraguan Navy also responded to assist the Coast Guard, and the five crew members were taken into custody.