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www.wmfd.com - Bullets from a Coast Guard helicopter rain down around a speeding drug boat during a high-speed chase in the Caribbean Sea. }}" />

Coast Guard Shoots Out Engine On Speeding Drug Boat

Story By: Larry Stine



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  Original Published: 7/22/2013  Bullets from a Coast Guard helicopter rain down around a speeding drug boat during a high-speed chase in the Caribbean Sea.   And much of the action was caught on camera.   Gaby Fleischman takes a look.   Warning shots fired into the Caribbean Sea, as a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter has its attention aimed at a boat carrying millions worth of cocaine.   When it doesn't stop, the engine is shot out.   "This is a big seizure, this is 2.300 pounds of cocaine that will not make it to America," says Lt. Commander Gabe Somma of the U.S. Coast Guard, District 7.   The drugs made it to U.S. soil Saturday morning, but in the hands of Coast Guard crews instead of criminals.   Some $35-million worth of contraband was off-loaded on Miami Beach.   The drugs coming in from South America were seized on July 14, when a Coast Guard airplane spotted the packages onboard a go-fast boat.   "A pursuit ensued, as the go-fast would not stop," says Lt,. Commander Somma. "The Coast Guard helicopter fired warning shots, the g-fast continued on its course, so the Coast Guard helicopter fired a shot to disable its engine."   A total of 42 bales of cocaine were thrown overboard during the chase.   The drugs were seized and four suspected smugglers arrested.   "This continues to be an increasing trend that we're seeing in the central Caribbean," says Lt. Commander Somma.   Earlier this month, the Coast Guard seized 1,250 pounds of cocaine off the coast of Costa Rica.   The Coast Guard says criminals have caught on and shifted course.   With increased operations to detect and deter contraband trafficking in the southwest Caribbean, transit routes are changing and smugglers are now moving further north.   "We believe it has pushed them over more to the central Caribbean, targeting more the Dominican Republic, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico," says Lt. Mario Gil, of the U.S. Coast Guard, District 7. "Once you get the drugs over to Puerto Rico, it's much easier to get them here to the streets of South Florida."   Members of the Coast Guard tell the Miami Herald the seizure was part of "Operation Unified Resolve," a multi-agency effort launched by the Department of Homeland Security in October.   Since then, authorities say they've seized roughly 40,000 pounds of cocaine, with a street value of about $600-million.
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