Local Coast Guard crew catches cocaine traffickers in Caribbean

Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Fla., crew members rendezvous with the Coast Guard Cutter Bear off the coast of Miami to conduct an at sea transfer of approximately 719 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated wholesale value of more than $23 million Sept. 18, 2014. The contraband seized is a result of a successful drug interdiction of a suspicious 208-foot cargo vessel in the Caribbean Sea Sept. 8, 2014, by the crew of the Cutter Bear. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Sabrina Laberdesque)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A local Coast Guard crew will be back in Portsmouth Friday, after helping offload millions of dollars worth of drugs.

The crew of the Portsmouth-based cutter BEAR have been patrolling the Caribbean as part of Operation Martillo, an international effort to counter illegal trafficking. While there, crew members were part of a successful drug interdiction.

It took place on August 23, north of the Gulf of Uraba. Coast Guard armed helicopter crews launched and boarded a go-fast vessel. Four suspected smugglers were taken into custody and 32 bales of cocaine were seized.

Another Coast Guard cutter handled a second interdiction on August 28 off the coast of Panama. Altogether, the two Coast Guard crews offloaded about 2,800 kilograms of cocaine, worth more than $93 million, at a Coast Guard base in Miami Thursday afternoon.

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