Coast Guard seizes $64 million in cocaine

Published On: Nov 07 2012 05:52:39 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 07 2012 06:14:25 PM EST
US Coast Guard ship (generic)
BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. -

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Cutter Vigilant has returned home to Port Canaveral after an eight-week deployment during which the crew helped seize $64 million worth of cocaine, official said.

The 210-foot vessel and its crew seized 5,300 pounds of cocaine while at sea as part of Operation Martillo, a United States government effort to curb the movement of drugs, weapons and cash in Central American waters, according to a press release from the Coast Guard Local 6's news partner Florida Today reports.

"I'm proud of the crew's vigilance in executing another successful law enforcement mission and their commitment to keeping these illicit drugs off our streets," said James Estramonte, commanding officer of the Vigilant. "I'm truly proud of how they applied their training into real-case scenarios.

"Some of the incidents the crew encountered:

-- On Oct. 12, crewmembers and a helicopter crew found a 30-foot vessel northeast of Nicaragua carrying 1,500 pounds of cocaine worth $18 million.

-- On Oct. 21, crewmembers pursued a vessel off the coast of Columbia. The smugglers dumped contraband and fled. The Colombian Navy recovered about 3,700 pounds of cocaine worth $46 million.