Coast Guard Reels In More Than 26 Tons of Cocaine, Worth More Than $2 Billion
Many of the brightly colored packages that filled the deck of a 418-food vessel were labeled "white sugar" or "pork."
More than 26 tons of seized cocaine — worth more than $2 billion on the streets — was brought ashore in Florida Thursday in what officials are calling "one of the largest drug offloads" in history.
Read: Catch of the Day: Shark Fisherman Reels In a Kilo of Cocaine During Excursion
The flight deck of 418-foot Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton was covered in more than three dozen pallets of seized cocaine, offloaded in Port Everglades with a crane, as a result of a joint effort between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy in the eastern Pacific over the last three months.
"Today we'll be offloading 53,000 pounds. That's equivalent to about 24,000 kilograms of cocaine [...] with an estimated wholesale value of $715 million," Vice Admiral Karl Schultz, Coast Guard commander in the Atlantic area, said in a Thursday press conference. "That's probably equivalent to $2-plus billion on the streets of America."
Many of the brightly colored packages, seized in 27 separate missions, were labeled "white sugar" or "pork."
"[The offloading] showcases the threat posed by dangerous cartels, gangs and criminal groups that make up extensive transitional organized crime networks," Schultz said.
He said the cocaine was intercepted from vessels originating from Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. The loads were intended to reach land before they would be divided into smaller amounts, and smuggled into the U.S. and Canada.
Read: This Drug Ring Stashed Cocaine in Toy Characters From Frozen, The Minions
"When we interdict drugs at sea, they are large quantities. That's kind of the impact of doing this at sea," Schultz explained.
The cocaine will later be transported to different agencies in order to prosecute the 100 suspects currently detained in relation to each smuggling incident.
Watch: Coke and a Smile: Drug-Smuggling Duo Took $23 Million Worth of Cocaine on World Cruise: Cops
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