Crew members of the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge off load 1,500 pounds of cocaine worth a wholesale value of $23 million at the dock at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg on Monday.
The drugs were seized March 12 during a patrol of the western Caribbean by crew members aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa with assistance from the US Customs and Border Protection. About 695 packages of cocaine were seized.
Several suspects were taken into custody and transferred to FBI and DEA officials.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa detected a suspicious fast moving vessel in international waters. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol helicopter provided air oversight of the vessel and fired warning shots at the vessel to stop it.
Editor's note: This story was changed to reflect the following correction: U.S. Customs and Border Protection assisted in the March 12 seizure of drugs in the Caribbean. A story online initially gave an incorrect name for the agency.