ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (970 WFLA) -- Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak offloaded approximately $19 million of cocaine this morning, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. They said it was seized in support of Operation Martillo.
During a patrol on October 27, Coast Guard officials said a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment team (LEDET) aboard the Royal Dutch Navy's HNLMS Amsterdam detected a 26-foot go-fast vessel in the Caribbean Sea. After observing suspicious packages onboard the go-fast, officials said the LEDET deployed a boatcrew to investigate.
Officials said as they arrived, the LEDET boarded the vessel and seized 20 bales which later tested positive for cocaine.
Then, Coast Guard officials said the two smugglers aboard the go-fast vessel were turned over to federal law enforcement officials in St. Petersburg.
According to the Coast Guard, this interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, which is one component in the United States government's whole-of-government approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, and cash.
Photo above, photo credit Getty Images
Photos below provided by the U.S. Coast Guard