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US Coast Guard Unloads Major Drug Haul in Puerto Rico

Bales of cocaine are shown on the deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous May 30, 2016, in the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)
Bales of cocaine are shown on the deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous May 30, 2016, in the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Authorities have made the largest maritime seizure of cocaine in the Atlantic region since 1999 from a boat off South America's northeastern coast, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.

About 4.2 tons of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $125 million, was confiscated from a fishing boat in international waters off Suriname, said Ricardo Castrodad, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard in San Juan.

The vessel was stopped and searched by authorities Feb. 16 during a joint patrol by the crews of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Joseph Napier and the coast guard of Trinidad and Tobago, Castrodad said.

The crew of the Napier, which is based in Port Canaveral, Florida, towed the 70-foot (21-meter) fishing vessel, the Lady Michelle, to St. Vincent and four men on board from Guyana were taken to the U.S. Virgin Islands to face possible criminal charges. The Coast Guard took the cocaine to Puerto Rico and turned it over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.