The U.S. Coast Guard offloaded more than 14,153 lbs. of cocaine Friday in Miami.
The $186 million worth of cocaine was intercepted in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in nine separate cases, according to a news release.
12 smuggling suspects were also taken into custody and now face prosecution in federal courts by the Department of Justice.
The contraband offloaded today represents the professional expertise and dedication of U.S. defense and law enforcement agencies working together to combat the flow of illicit drugs through the Caribbean Region into the United States,” said Lt. Peter Hutchison, duty enforcement officer at Coast Guard District Seven, said in the news release published Saturday. “This teamwork is imperative to the identification, interception, and seizure of vessels engaged in illicit trafficking and a testament to the hard work of these crews.”
The Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West monitors and detects aerial or maritime transit of drugs in the area. Once an interception becomes imminent, control of the operation shifts to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Seventh District, which is headquartered in Miami.
The bust comes as the global production of cocaine has seen a dramatic increase over the past two years. A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) suggests a steep growth in cocaine supply has been met with a similar surge in demand.