16 tons of cocaine offloaded at Port Everglades
Coast Guard interdicted drugs during 26-day period near Central, South America
PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard offloaded about 16 tons of cocaine Tuesday at Port Everglades.
The drugs are valued at $1.2 billion and were seized in international waters off the eastern Pacific Ocean.
"Our folks are definitely putting themselves in harm's way to do this mission," U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor said.
According to a news release, the Coast Guard interdicted the drugs during a 26-day period along Central and South America.
One bust, which was captured on surveillance video, yielded hundreds of bales of cocaine.
The drugs are now part of larger federal investigation involving 30 accused drug smugglers who are now in custody.
Coast Guard officials said in some instances they had to shoot out the engine in the fleeing vessel to get the boat to stop.
"We're averaging about 12 of these a month," Capt. Kevin Gavin said. "As I like to say, unfortunately, business is very good for us, (but) I wish that it wasn't."
The confiscated drugs are the result of about 45 days of work for the U.S. Coast Guard.
"It's not just the cocaine," Fedor said. "It's all of the ramifications from the cocaine, both in the United States, as well as in our Central American partners -- the damage that it causes to those communities."
The drugs were offloaded from a Coast Guard cutter and handed over to the DEA.
"Coco crop in Colombia is the biggest it's been in a long time," Fedor said. "At the same time that's happening, we're introducing -- the Coast Guard is introducing -- more capable assets out there to interdict the flow of cocaine."
Multiple U.S. agencies participated in the drug bust.
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