U.S. Seizes $23M Cocaine In Caribbean

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – The United States Coast Guard recently seized about a ton of cocaine, worth an estimated $23 million, in the Caribbean Sea. The contraband was offloaded here on Nov. 20 by the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Pelican. Three suspected smugglers were also arrested.

The Coast Guard reported that while patrolling during “Operation Caribbe” on Nov. 11, the crew seized more than 834 kilograms of cocaine from a vessel that was located south of Jaragua in the Dominican Republic. Working under the direction of U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S), the Coast Guard said law enforcement members boarded the go-fast boat and discovered 30 bales of cocaine and apprehended three suspects.


The Coast Guard said the cocaine and detainees were transferred to RFA Mounts Bay, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary Bay-class auxiliary landing ship dock. The RFA Mounts Bay crew transferred the detainees and contraband to the crew of the Pelican and offloaded at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg.

“This offload represents approximately one ton of illicit drugs that will never hit our streets,” said Captain Aldante Vinciguerra, chief of response, Coast Guard’s 7th District. The U..S Coast Guard said Operation Caribbe is Canada’s contribution to Operation Martillo, a JIATF-S operation, subordinate to US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), based in Florida. JIATF-S is a U.S. task force responsible for conducting interagency and international detection and monitoring operations and facilitating the interdiction of illicit trafficking of drugs, weapons, money and people, the Coast Guard said.