Charleston Coast Guard cutter seizes almost $50 million in drugs

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, homeported in Charleston, seized about 4,000 pounds of cocaine and 940 pounds of marijuana during two separate cases while patrolling the Caribbean Sea.

The contraband from both cases were offloaded in Key West, Fla., on Wednesday.

While conducting a patrol Dec. 22, 2011, crew members located a 40-foot go-fast vessel north of Hobbies Cays, Honduras. Dallas crew members witnessed personnel aboard the vessel throw multiple bales into the water.

The Coast Guard retrieved 77 individually wrapped packages that tested positive for cocaine. The cocaine weighed approximately 4,000 pounds and has an estimated street value of $48 million.

The four detainees were transferred to federal law enforcement officials at the Naval station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The second seizure happened On Dec. 31, 2011, when Dallas crew members located a go-fast vessel southwest of Jamaica. The crew launched their small boat to stop the vessel and crew members conducted a Right of Visit boarding and went onto the ship.

The boarding team witnessed personnel throw multiple bales into the water. The boarding team recovered 16 packages testing positive for marijuana.

The Dallas crew was able to detain three suspected smugglers aboard the vessel and prevent the trafficking of 940 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $852,000.

The three detainees were transferred to Jamaican Defense Force officials.

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