Coast Guard seizes $24.3 million of cocaine in Caribbean drug bust

The United States Coast Guard seized a boat that was carrying $24.3 million worth of cocaine on Friday.

The vessel with about 30 bales of the narcotics also had five alleged smugglers on board, according to a press release by the Coast Guard.   

The Margaret Norvell encountered the boat about 190 miles south of Puerto Rico, and members of the crew were deployed with two boarding officers from Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team-South.

“Drug busts like this one by Margaret Norvell’s crew save lives by reducing the flow of harmful narcotics to the United States and disrupting the illicit maritime activity of transnational criminal organizations,” Chief of enforcement for Coast Guard District Seven, Capt. John B. McWhite, said in the press release. “The efforts to counter illicit smuggling in the Caribbean are truly a collaboration between the Coast Guard and our federal partners and regional allies.”

The narcotics agents confiscated weighed more than 1,850 pounds, the Coast Guard said.

“I am incredibly proud of our crew,” Commanding Officer of cutter Margaret Norvell, Lt. Cmdr. Colin Weaver said. “I am also grateful for the exceptional coordination and teamwork extending beyond our unit that contributed to this interdiction. Countering drug trafficking organizations that operate throughout the Caribbean depends upon the international and interagency partnerships that JIATF-S and Joint Task Force-East bring to the fight.” 

The alleged smugglers will face prosecution in federal courts by the Department of Justice, the Coast Guard said.

Ahjané Forbes is a reporter on the National Trending Team at USA TODAY. Ahjané covers breaking news, car recalls, crime, health, lottery and public policy stories. Email her at aforbes@gannett.com. Follow her on Instagram, Threads and X

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coast Guard seizes $24.3 million of cocaine in Caribbean drug bust

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