The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell seized over a ton of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $32.2 million dollars on Tuesday, according to authorities.
The two separate seizures, which took place in international waters of the Caribbean Sea, totalled 2,450 pounds of cocaine and led to the arrest of six smugglers, according to a statement by the United States Coast Guard following the incident.
"Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the Coast Guard crews and agency partners involved with this interdiction, Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell brought these suspected smugglers and illicit contraband ashore for prosecution," said Lt. Cmdr. Colin Weaver, Commanding Officer. "Coast Guard crews continue to deliver on our important missions of homeland and maritime security to save lives and thwart transnational criminal organizations operating in the Caribbean."
The six suspected smugglers that were apprehended will now face prosecution in federal courts by the Department of Justice.
"These interdictions relate to Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces designated investigations. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach," the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The seizures involved crews from the USCG Cutter Richard Dixon, the USCG Cutter Dauntless and theJoint Interagency Task Force South.
"Detecting and interdicting illegal drug traffickers on the high seas involves significant interagency and international coordination. The Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Florida conducts the detection and monitoring of aerial and maritime transit of illegal drugs," officials said.
"Once interdiction becomes imminent, the law enforcement phase of the operation begins, and control of the operation shifts to the U.S. Coast Guard throughout the interdiction and apprehension," said the U.S Coast Guard. "Interdictions in the Caribbean Sea are performed by members of the U.S. Coast Guard under the authority and control of the Coast Guard's Seventh District, headquartered in Miami."