Coast Guard displays huge haul of cocaine
PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (CBS12) —
Blowing the lid off of an international drug smuggling ring, happening right here - in our backyard!
Millions and millions in cocaine - seized at sea.
It’s called the Transit Zone. It’s the route---off shore---that drug runners are using to get their illegal drugs into the U.S. But first they have to get past the Coast Guard.
Authorities displayed piles and piles of cocaine Thursday morning. About 18 tons seized at sea just since March.
“To be able to get 18 tons in as little time as we went out there is really incredible,” said Joseph Trump, U.S. Coast Guard member.
The Coast Guard ship Hamilton offloaded the drugs at Port Everglades.
Eighteen tons of cocaine worth nearly $500 million, seized in separate incidents off the coast of Central and South America.
Smugglers were trying to bring the cocaine to the U.S., along a maritime route nicknamed The Transit Zone.
“They use that route because it’s their best route and they constantly, they constantly change their tactics,” said Capt. Scott Clendenin, U.S. Coast Guard.
Authorities say the eastern Pacific has become a favorite route for the drug smugglers, who have shown no signs of slowing down.
As a result, the Coast Guard is teaming up with agencies from other countries, including the Royal Canadian Navy, trying to outwit the drug runners loaded down with their precious and very illegal cargo.
“Some of ‘em don’t stop right away, and we have longer term high-speed chases,” Capt. Clendenin said.
The Coast Guard says with so much money at stake, the smugglers are getting more sophisticated---and more dangerous---and when they encounter smugglers at sea they never know what to expect. But with a haul like this one, this is 18 tons of cocaine that never made it to America’s streets, and was kept out of the I-95 corridor used by drug runners to transport the cocaine once they get it here.
Their next mission is in three months.
So again, that’s 18 tons of cocaine intercepted at sea. To give you an idea how much that is, one of our news vehicles, a 2013 Subaru Forester, weighs about 3400 pounds.
Eighteen tons of cocaine weighs about as much as 11 of these SUV’S.
That’s a lot of cocaine that will never get into the hands of users.