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Coast Guard hauls in $45 million in cocaine to St. Petersburg

Published Dec. 6, 2012

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Decisive offload 3,967 pounds of cocaine Wednesday at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. The nearly 2 tons of cocaine were seized from two vessels south of the Dominican Republic. The estimated value of the loot: more than $45 million. Coast Guard officials wearing gloves and masks carried the bales, one by one, off Decisive and handed them over to federal officials. The contraband was stowed in a white truck and taken to an undisclosed location. On Nov. 25, a Coast Guard aircraft discovered a vessel carrying more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine. When the men on the vessel realized they were at risk of being caught, they tossed the contraband into the water and took off. The next day, the cutter Nantucket and an aircraft located the bales. On Nov. 27, authorities also located a sailboat with nearly 2,000 pounds of cocaine. The man aboard was arrested. The Coast Guard, along with Caribbean authorities, have seized more than 20,000 pounds of cocaine and nearly 7,000 pounds of marijuana in the past five months, officials said. Officials estimated the drugs are valued at more than $260 million. Meanwhile off Florida's east coast Wednesday, the Coast Guard cutter Tampa reported finding 5,000 pound of cocaine that had been dumped by smugglers. Those smugglers got away. — Times staff, wires

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