Sixteen tons of cocaine worth $420 million have been seized along the coasts of Central and South America in the Pacific Ocean in a massive drug bust by the US Coast Guard.
The drugs were found over a 26-day period through 17 drug-smuggling interdictions along Central and South America, the Coast Guard said on its website.
More than 30 alleged drug smugglers were arrested, officials said Tuesday during a press conference at Port Everglades in Florida, CBS Miami reported.
The interdictions were made by Coast Guard and Canadian ships working with the Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment team.
Officials put the total street value of the seizures at more than $1 billion, according to WSVN in Miami.
The biggest seizures were made by the cutter James and the Coast Guard’s helicopter squad – which made five for a total of 5.1 tons – and the cutter Mohawk, which netted 5.7 tons across seven seizures.
“With this ship, we’re capable of owning the night,” said the James’ Captain Mark Fedor. “They’re just not carrying cocaine. They’re delivering violence, corruption, and instability to a part of the world – the Western Hemisphere – that just can’t afford it.”
The helicopter squadron averages about 12 interdictions a month, according to Captain Keith Gavin.
“As I like to say, unfortunately, business is good for us. And I wish it wasn’t,” he said.