Coast Guard offloads $48M in cocaine

Nearly 4,000 pounds seized

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - A Coast Guard crew is offloading more than 3,800 pounds of cocaine Friday in Miami Beach.

The drugs, seized by Coast Guard crews in three different missions, are worth $48 million.

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They were offloaded from the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant at the Miami Beach Coast Guard station just after noon.

The Valiant's crew seized more than 2,600 pounds of cocaine from suspected smugglers aboard a 35-foot go-fast vessel on May 31 with the assistance of a helicopter crew from the Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, the U.S Navy and Nicaraguan Navy. The crew took five suspects into custody and seized $32.5 million worth of cocaine.

On June 10, a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment deployed aboard the Navy Frigate USS Elrod, an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate homeported in Norfolk, Va., interdicted a suspected smuggling vessel carrying more than 1,000 pounds of cocaine. The crews of the Elrod and the Coast Guard LEDET recovered approximately $13 million worth of cocaine and took four suspected smugglers into custody.

The third interdiction took place June 15 when the USS Carr, an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate homeported in Norfolk, Va., and a Coast Guard LEDET seized 220 pounds of cocaine found aboard a 40-foot sailing vessel off the coast of Colombia. The LEDET took three suspects into custody along with approximately $3 million worth of cocaine.

"Seizures at sea are the most efficient and cost-effective way to keep cocaine off the streets of America," said Cmdr. John Dettleff, commanding officer aboard the Valiant, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Miami. "Coast Guard cutters have interdicted more than 75,000 pounds of cocaine since Oct. 1, 2011, which is 25,000 lbs more than land based, U.S. law enforcement personnel seized in all of 2010."

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