REPORT: Coast Guard Offloads $63 Million Of Cocaine After Shootout With Smugglers

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Jeff Charles Contributor
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The United States Coast Guard reportedly offloaded over 4,800 pounds of cocaine, worth approximately $63 million, at a port in Florida on Thursday, two days after officers fired on a speedboat suspected of smuggling narcotics in the Caribbean Sea.

The Coast Guard seized the cocaine during two operations involving HNMLS Groningen off the coast of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, according to a post on Twitter. The haul amounts to about $63 million in cocaine. The operations were conducted by a Royal Netherlands Navy Patrol boat, which had a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment on board, according to CBS News.

The agency explained that in collaboration with international partners, it continues its efforts to interdict drug smugglers to decrease the flow of illicit drugs while disrupting transnational criminal organizations. (RELATED: Coast Guard Delivers Confiscated Cocaine Valued At $468 Million To San Diego Port)

This development comes days after the same Dutch vessel tangled with a suspected smuggling vessel. Early Thursday morning, the ship “identified a vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics in international waters,” according to a press release. The vessel refused to stop when it was signaled and increased speed, heading toward the Dutch ship, at which point the crew “discharged their weapons at the go-fast vessel in self-defense and defense of others in response to the life-threatening situation.”

The suspected drug smuggling vessel caught fire and sank. The three suspects on board went into the water and were not recovered.