As much as $22 million worth of cocaine was offloaded at the U.S. Coast Guard's Miami Beach base Friday after it was intercepted in the Caribbean Sea.
The drugs were seized Oct. 27 by a crew on board a Royal Netherlands Navy ship, and although authorities didn't catch the criminals, they say they still stopped its distribution.
“When you see $22 million worth of drugs come back with or without criminals, that’s $22 million less in weapons, that’s $22 million less in cash flow, that’s 22 million less in nefarious activities,” Cmdr. David Ramassini told NBC 6 South Florida.
The cocaine, packaged in 42 bales, weighed close to 1,900 pounds and was unloaded from the Cutter Bear.
“It’s incredible, it’s rewarding, it’s hard to explain from words,” said officer Christopher L. Thompson.
The seizure was part of Operation Martillo, an international effort to bring together information to counter drug trafficking. Authorities said the bales were dumped into the water by smugglers pursued by the Navy ship.
"I saved a couple of people’s lives, I saved a couple of families, I saved it from coming in," Thompson said.
The bust was enough to cover the cost of the ship alone.