US Coast Guard seizes 16 tons of cocaine

Authorities estimate the total cocaine seizure to be worth an estimated $420 million.

The U.S. Coast Guard just brought a massive shipment of seized cocaine to Florida, but the bust probably won't ruin anyone's party plans this weekend.

The offload represents 17 separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions by U.S. Coast Guard crews, Canadian crews and inter-agency partners. Check back for more information.

The HMCS Saskatoon, which carried a Coast Guard interdiction team, also had one case and seized an estimated one ton of cocaine.

While the federal law enforcement agencies involved in the seizures patted themselves on the back a press conference, workers offloaded bales cocaine wrapped in plastic and strapped to pallets.

The DEA reported an estimated 67 percent spike in cocaine production in Colombia previous year, with the illicit crop making a comeback despite a USA -backed eradication campaign that has cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with allied and worldwide partner agencies play a role in counter-drug operations.

"I am extremely proud of the crew of Coast Guard Cutter James and our (helicopter) detachment for a highly successful inaugural patrol", said Vice Adm. Karl Schultz, commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area, in a statement.

U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez said Wednesday that four men were arrested.

Saskatoon was responsible for seizing an estimated 660 kg of cocaine off the Pacific coast of Central America on March 12, according to a release from the Department of National Defense. During at-sea interdictions in global waters, a suspect vessel is initially located and tracked by allied military or law enforcement personnel.

The almost month-long mission was conducted in the global waters of the Eastern Pacific. The cutter Sherman is a 378-foot high-endurance cutter homeported in Honolulu. The HMCS Saskatoon is a Kingston Class coastal defence vessel based in Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada.

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