Coast Guard Offloads Nearly 2 Tons of Cocaine in St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa offloaded nearly 2 tons of cocaine Feb. 2 in St. Petersburg that was seized in the Caribbean Sea, the Coast Guard reported in a release.
While patrolling in support of Operation Unified Resolve and Operation Martillo, approximately 1,580 kilograms of cocaine were seized, worth $46.7 million wholesale, by the U.S. Coast Guard and partner nation crews between Dec. 20-22.
On Dec. 20, 820 kilos were interdicted during a joint boarding conducted by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier and Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez, two Sentinel-class cutters homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The remainder was seized Dec. 22 by the Coast Guard’s Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) South deployed aboard HNLMS Van Speijk, a Royal Netherlands Navy ship operating in the Caribbean.
“This offload represents nearly 2 tons of illicit drugs that will never hit our streets,” said Cmdr. Nick Simmons, commanding officer of Tampa. “This is the result of the combined efforts of our partners and allied men and women who continue to work day and night to stop these criminal organizations from profiting off transnational crime and smuggling.”
Operation Unified Resolve is a combined effort between the U.S. Coast Guard and international partners in the Caribbean region to deter illicit activity and interdict vessels smuggling drugs and illegal migrants to the United States. Operation Martillo is Joint Interagency Task Force South led multinational detection, monitoring and interdiction operation conducted by U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection vessels and aircraft working in cooperation with military and law enforcement agencies from various Central and South American nations, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Tampa is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter based out of Portsmouth, Va. Tampa regularly conducts 60- to 90-day maritime law enforcement and Homeland Security deployments to the Eastern Pacific, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
Tampa’s primary missions include counter-drug and migrant interdiction operations, search and rescue, national defense and international engagement.