Coast Guard unloads $19 million of seized cocaine in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Crew members aboard the Coast Guard cutter Sitkinak offloaded an estimated $19 million of cocaine Thursday.

During an Oct. 27 patrol, a Coast Guard team aboard a Royal Dutch navy vessel detected a suspicious 26-foot boat in the Caribbean. After observing suspicious packages onboard, the team deployed a boat crew to investigate.

The crew boarded the vessel and seized 20 large packages that later tested positive for cocaine.

The two smuggling suspects aboard the boat were turned over to federal law enforcement officials in St. Petersburg.

The interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, which targets illegal shipments of drugs, weapons and cash from Central America. The operation is international, with an emphasis on sharing information and bringing together the U.S. Department of Defense, Homeland Security and agencies from other countries.

Crew members of the Coast Guard cutter Sitkinak offload an estimated $19 million of cocaine Thursday in St. Petersburg. During an Oct. 27 patrol, the Coast Guard seized 20 large packages from a boat in the Caribbean as part of Operation Martillo, which targets illegal shipments of drugs, weapons and cash from Central America. Two smuggling suspects were turned over to federal law enforcement officials.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times

Crew members of the Coast Guard cutter Sitkinak offload an estimated $19 million of cocaine Thursday in St. Petersburg. During an Oct. 27 patrol, the Coast Guard seized 20 large packages from a boat in the Caribbean as part of Operation Martillo, which targets illegal shipments of drugs, weapons and cash from Central America. Two smuggling suspects were turned over to federal law enforcement officials.

Coast Guard unloads $19 million of seized cocaine in St. Petersburg 11/07/13 [Last modified: Thursday, November 7, 2013 10:59pm]

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