Coast Guard offloads over $12M worth of cocaine in St. Petersburg

Boarding team discovers 14 bales; 5 suspected smugglers taken into custody


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard says it offloaded an estimated $12.5 million wholesale value of cocaine Wednesday in St. Petersburg.

The crew intercepted a suspicious Panamanian-flagged fishing vessel north of Colombia on Nov. 4. Authorities said District Seven received permission from the Panamanian Government for a Gallatin crew to board and search the fishing vessel.

During the search, the boarding team discovered 14 bales, which officials said later tested positive for cocaine. The Panamanian Government subsequently waived jurisdiction to the U.S.

Five Colombian suspected smugglers were taken into custody and were later transferred with the contraband to the cutter Resolute, the Coast Guard said.