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VIDEO: Coast Guard offloads 17 tons of seized cocaine worth $466 million at Florida port

The Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC-911) crew stand amongst 34,780 pounds of interdicted cocaine aboard at Port Everglades, Florida, Feb. 5, 2019. The Forward crew offloaded approximately 34,780 pounds of cocaine at Port Everglades worth an estimated $466 million wholesale seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray/U.S. Coast Guard)
February 06, 2019
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Nearly 35,000 pounds of cocaine that has been removed from the international drug trade pipeline arrived at Port Everglades Tuesday.

The drugs seized in 21 separate operations in international waters off Mexico and Central and South America were offloaded from the Coast Guard Cutter Forward.

The cocaine has an estimated wholesale value of $466 million, the Coast Guard said.

“The interdiction and disruption of more than 17 tons of cocaine is a result of the collaboration and coordination of multiple Coast Guard and inter-agency assets to address the complex maritime challenge of transnational criminal organizations,” said Cmdr. Michael Sharp, commanding officer of the Forward.

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According to officials:

— The Forward was responsible for eight cases seizing an estimated 14,207 pounds of cocaine.

— The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton was responsible for five cases, seizing an estimated 9,460 pounds of cocaine

— The Coast Guard Cutter Campbell was responsible for four cases, seizing an estimated 6,153 pounds of cocaine.

— The Coast Guard Cutter Alert was responsible for two cases, seizing an estimated 5,736 pounds of cocaine.

— The Coast Guard Cutter Venturous was responsible for one case, seizing an estimated 1,565 pounds of cocaine.

— The Coast Guard Cutter Confidence was responsible for one case seizing an estimated 553 pounds of cocaine.

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During the seizures, 49 people were detained, officials said.

The continuing effort to deter transnational organized crime involves multiple U.S. agencies including the Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with international partner agencies.

During the last three years, the Coast Guard says its operations have removed about 1.3 million pounds of cocaine from international transit zones.

Typically, a sample of the seized drugs are preserved for purposes of legal evidence for future prosecutions while the rest is turned over to federal authorities to be destroyed.

Port Everglades has been a frequent destination for Coast Guard Drug enforcement missions.

— More than 18 tons of cocaine worth about $500 million were offloaded at Port Everglades on Nov. 15.

— About 6 tons of cocaine valued at more than $170 million were delivered Sept. 17.

— More than 7 tons of cocaine worth $211 million were offloaded Aug. 9.

— Some 6 tons of cocaine worth an estimated $180 million came in May 10.

— About 13 tons of cocaine and one ton of marijuana valued at $400 million arrived April 24.

— More than 7 tons of cocaine worth about $190 million was brought in Feb. 13.

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© 2019 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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