US seizes $63m worth of cocaine after dramatic shootout on high seas

The Guardian

A high-seas shootout pitting drug runners against the law ended with the smugglers’ boat at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea and the US Coast Guard seizing $63m worth of cocaine, authorities in Florida said on Friday.

The dramatic encounter took place on Tuesday about 25 miles (40km) north of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, when the coast guard cutter Resolute – patrolling with the Dutch navy ship Groningen – identified a vessel in international waters suspected of carrying narcotics, according to a press release from the USCG south-east region.

The crew of a joint forces fast interception craft fired on the suspected smugglers when the “non-compliant vessel” was turned at speed towards them, and the boat caught fire and sank. The US and Dutch sailors acted “in self-defense and defense of others in response to the life-threatening situation”, the press release said.

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