More than $110 million worth of cocaine offloaded by Coast Guard

About 3,300 kilos seized days apart in March

By Ben Kennedy - Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - More than $100 million worth of cocaine was offloaded at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Miami Beach on Tuesday morning.

The USCGC Legare arrived in South Florida with about 3,300 kilograms of cocaine seized days apart last month.

Lt. J.G. Meaghan Gies said the first shipment was seized after a Coast Guard cutter received a report of a suspicious fishing boat off the coast of Panama. Once on board, the Coast Guard did a sweep of the boat, found nothing and left.

Moments later, that same fishing boat caught fire. When the Coast Guard returned to rescue the crew, they found 97 bales of suspected contraband floating in the water nearby, including more than 2,400 kilos of cocaine.

Four days later, the USCGC Legare tracked down a go-fast boat from Colombia smuggling $30 million of illegal drugs into the country.

When confronted, the boat did not stop, so a Coast Guard helicopter was used to take out the engine from above.

"The main goal of the Coast Guard is to stop this bulk contraband -- this bulk cocaine -- from coming and further deteriorating the crime and the violence in South Florida," Gies said.

Five men on the boat were taken into custody.

 "We did return them to Colombia," where they are facing prosecution, Gies said.

The total estimated value of the drugs is worth $110 million. Those drugs will be destroyed.

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