The U.S. Coast guard returned to St. Petersburg this weekend with more than $36 million worth of drugs seized in the Western Caribbean.
According to a news release, 53 bales and more than $35 million worth of cocaine was seized along with 45 bales and $1 million worth of marijuana in separate patrols.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, a 210-foot Reliance Class Cutter based at Sector St. Petersburg, returned home Sunday after completing a 10-week deployment, according to a news release.
On Sunday, the Coast Guard released a statement describing the drug operation.
"...the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, based in Jacksonville, Fla., spotted a drug smuggling go-fast vessel during a law enforcement patrol.
During the pursuit of the go-fast vessel, the four suspected smugglers jumped into the water in an attempt to flee the scene. The Resolute's small boat crew safely recovered all four persons in the water with no injuries. Crewmembers from the cutter Resolute's boarding team were able to stop the unmanned go-fast and board the vessel. During the boarding, they discovered 53 bales covered in a white powdery substance that later tested positive for cocaine.
In a similar, but separate incident, the crew of the Resolute also interdicted more than $1 million worth of marijuana when their embarked helicopter spotted another drug smuggling go-fast vessel. The helicopter was able to force the go-fast crew to jettison their drug shipment before the go-fast escaped into Nicaraguan waters. Resolute’s crew then recovered 45 bales of marijuana from the water, weighing nearly 1,500 pounds."
The drug seize was part of Operation Martillo. The Coast Guard said Operation Martillo is an international operation for "countering the use of the Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash."