The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell interdicted a go-fast vessel, detained four suspected Colombian drug smugglers and seized about 2,420 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated wholesale value of $29 million while on patrol in the Caribbean Sea on Aug. 20.
The crew of a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft initially detected the four men aboard a 36-foot go-fast boat during a law enforcement patrol on the evening of Aug. 19, south of the Dominican Republic, officials said.
Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan diverted the Campbell to interdict the suspect vessel, while Dominican Republic navy authorities also responded with multiple marine units. The crew of the the HC-144 and Customs and Border Protection agents aboard a CBP maritime patrol aircraft, monitored the suspect vessel's transit and guided in the Campbell's crew to eventually complete the interdiction.
Officials said the suspected smugglers attempted to flee as the Dominican authorities closed in at the same time the crew of the Campbell deployed the cutter's smallboat. After a two-hour chase by both the cutter and the smallboat crew, the suspect vessel was interdicted, officials said.
A Coast Guard boarding team from the Campbell detained the four suspected drug smugglers and located 44 bales of contraband hidden inside the vessel, officials said. They said further testing revealed the contraband shipment to be a total of 2,420 pounds of cocaine.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Cushing transferred custody of the suspected drug smugglers and the sample of the seized contraband U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration personnel in the Dominican Republic for further processing and investigation.
The crew of the Campbell proceeded to transport the 44 bales of cocaine to Mayport for final offload and transfer to DEA authorities.