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US Coast Guard seizes millions of US dollars in drugs in Caribbean Sea; arrests seven

Published:Saturday | February 20, 2021 | 12:26 PMCMC

The United States Coast Guard said on Thursday that its Cutter Harriet Lane seized millions of US dollars worth of narcotics and arrested seven alleged smugglers during a 71-day patrol of the Caribbean Sea. The operation ended on Thursday. 

“Harriet Lane joined forces with the Colombian Navy to conduct joint maritime operations in the Caribbean, focusing on interoperability, communications, and counter-narcotics efforts,” the US Coast Guard said.

On crossing into the Pacific, via the Panama Canal, it said the Harriet Lane crew and her embarked aviation detachment interdicted two non-compliant vessels suspected of illicit drug smuggling.

The US Coast Guard said these interdictions included the seizure of 980 kilogrammes of cocaine and 1,600 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated street value of US$40 million.

Seven suspected drug smugglers were also detained. 

Prior to returning to its port, the US Coast Guard said the Harriet Lane stopped in Port Everglades, Florida to transfer 17 suspected drug smugglers and US$206 million of illicit drugs to partner agencies for prosecution.

The US Coast Guard said the Harriet Lane crew had also worked in conjunction with a deployed aviation detachment from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) based in Jacksonville, Florida. HITRON specialises in the execution of airborne use of force for the purpose of disabling non-compliant vessels suspected of illicit drug smuggling.

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