More than 30 metric tons of cocaine and marijuana have been seized by the US Coast Guard
The US Coast Guard offloaded tons of illegal substances at Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades in South Florida on Thursday, following one of the biggest anti-drug ops undertaken by American authorities. Officials say the drugs are worth more than $1 billion in total, and include 54,500 pounds (24,720 kilos) of cocaine and 15,800 pounds (7,166 kilos) of marijuana.
The haul dropped off by the Coast Guard cutter was seized at sea during the vessel’s deployment off the coast of South America over the past several months. The drugs were nabbed in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea, with much of the narcotics reportedly hailing from Colombia, according to the AP news agency.
The vessel’s commanding officer, Captain Todd Vance said the collective operation was “a significant blow to transnational criminal networks” and the largest drug seizure for the cutter.
To detect and capture the illicit trafficking, the US military used powerful drones and special infrared cameras with the capacity to hunt out heat from small vessels carrying cocaine. “It’s a very fast-paced environment, and once we get on a case and we have a go-fast that we’re going after, it’s very fast – everything happens pretty quickly,” Coast Guard Operations Specialist Chelsea Pereira, who was part of the mission, told Local 10 News in Florida.