United States Customs and Border Patrol, U.S. law enforcement and the British Royal Navy together seized a whopping 3,086 pounds of cocaine worth $46.2 million and arrested 9 suspected smugglers in two separate drug busts in the middle of the Caribbean Sea between January 24th and January 30th, 2020.
These busts were part of an international, multi-agency law enforcement effort, part of a 20-nation collaborative counter narcotic effort, according to CBP sources.
In the first bust on January 24th the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy RFA Mounts Bay, while on patrol with a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) and a Coast Guard armed helicopter onboard, detected two suspicious go-fast vessels, approximately 74 nautical miles south of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The RFA Mounts Bay launched the Coast Guard HITRON helicopter and the ship’s pursuit vessel with the Coast Guard LEDET to interdict both suspect vessels. The Coast Guard LEDET boarding team, with the assistance of RFA Mounts Bay crewmembers, boarded both suspect vessels, apprehending the seven men and seizing 42 bales of suspected contraband.
The second bust on January 30th, a marine patrol aircraft detected another go-fast boat southeast of Isla Beata, Dominican Republic. The cutter Bear along with a helicopter responded to interdict the go-fast. Cutter Bear’s Over the Horizon cutter boat and embarked helicopter and stopped the go-fast. Cutter Bear’s boarding team detained the two men aboard the go-fast, after discovering 13 bales of suspected contraband.
In total, 9 smugglers, 55 bales of cocaine (1400 kilograms) were turned over to CBP ICE, and DEA special agents in San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 4th, 2020.