Miami Beach

Coast Guard seized 27,000 pounds of cocaine. Here’s what that looks like

Ever wonder what 27,000 pounds of cocaine looks like?

If you weren’t privy to the Eagles’ “Hotel California” or Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” recording sessions at North Miami’s Criteria Studios in the 1970s, mountains of coke in one place might be a foreign concept.

So the Coast Guard’s latest video is an eye- (or would that be nose-?) opener.

The Southeast division of the U.S. Coast Guard sent out an alert that 27,000 pounds of confiscated cocaine will be offloaded by the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa in Miami Beach and sent for destruction on Friday. It’s all a part of the Coast Guard’s #notonourstreets initiative.

The wholesale value of the drug is an estimated $360 million according to the Coast Guard.

The seized contraband was found by the Coast Guard and its Department of Homeland Security partners in the Eastern Pacific on several passes off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America.

CoastGuard wrap palette.jpg
Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Mason R. Cram wraps a palette of cocaine in preparation for a drug offload March 22, 2019, at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa offloaded approximately 27,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $360 million wholesale seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray U.S. Coast Guard

Three cutters were involved in the interceptions:

Coast Guard Cutter Venturous (WMEC-625), a 210-foot vessel home ported in St. Petersburg, Florida, captured about 7,218 pounds of coke via four cases.

Coast Guard Cutter Dependable (WMEC-626), a 210-foot vessel home ported in Virginia Beach, seized an estimated 2,926 pounds of cocaine from two cases.

Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC-902), a 270-foot vessel home ported in Portsmouth, Virginia, seized an estimated 18,239 pounds of cocaine from six cases.

Coast Guard Tampa crew.jpg
Pictured is the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa (WMEC-902) crew standing among approximately 27,000 pounds of seized cocaine on March 22, 2019, at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach. Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray. U.S. Coast Guard

“Tampa’s crew is extremely proud of the work they accomplished over the past three months,” said Cmdr. Nicholas Simmons, commanding officer of the Tampa, in a statement. “There are few things more frustrating to our sailors than idle deployments, and none more gratifying than accomplishing a very important mission with impacts that resound across our nation. For many of the crew, this will be their last deployment on Tampa, and it’s one they will always remember.”

The 7th District Southeast public affairs department said that the U.S. Coast Guard has increased its domestic and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, “which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America” as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy.

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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