Coast Guard seizes $350 million worth of cocaine after chase at sea with suspected smugglers

(CNN) — The Coast Guard seized 26,000 pounds of cocaine worth $350 million in several operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean, including one involving a high-speed chase at sea with suspected drug smugglers.

In one of the hauls, footage released by the Coast Guard showed suspected drug smugglers tossing out containers of cocaine overboard as their boat sped through the water on July 18.

“The crewmembers apprehended the suspected smugglers and seized approximately 2,300 pounds of cocaine from the vessel,” the Coast Guard said in a statement Friday.

The total amount of contraband came from six suspected drug smuggling vessel operations along with the discovery of floating cocaine bales between late June and mid-July, the Coast Guard said. It unloaded all the seized cocaine Friday.

“This was 26,000 pounds of cocaine that will not make it to the main streets of the USA, and it also gives us the opportunity to make sure that we can continue to combat transnational criminal organizations that transport this cocaine deep in the Pacific every single day,” said Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, a Coast Guard district commander. “Because we know that with a supply chain of illegal narcotics, at every single step there’s violence, instability and despair.”

The Coast Guard has increased US presence in the eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are considered drug transit hotspots off of Central and South America.

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