One Boat, One Chase, $75 Million in Cocaine: A Coast Guard Afternoon in the Caribbean

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Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez 55 bales of cocaine
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez (WPC-1114) offloaded 55 bales of cocaine weighing 1,375 kilograms at Sector San Juan July 22, 2020. The $38.5 million shipment was seized and recovered from the Caribbean Sea July 16, 2020, following the disruption of a go-fast which led to the smugglers jettisoning the contraband overboard. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/John Hightower)

An afternoon Caribbean Sea chase involving a drug smuggler's speeding boat and a U.S. Coast Guard fast response boat wound up with $75.6 million in cocaine in the water, the Coast Guard said.

The cocaine, 1,375 kilograms or 3,025 pounds, wound up on the Coast Guard cutter Heriberto Hernandez, which offloaded it in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday.

The agency said as the cutter Heriberto Hernandez patrolled the Caribbean Sea on July 16, the crew saw what it called a "go-fast vessel." The vessel's drivers noticed the Coast Guard cutter, too, and cut out while dumping some cargo, 55 bales of which the Heriberto Hernandez crew pulled out of the water.

The Coast Guard put the wholesale value at $38.5 million. As for street value, 1,375 kilos would be about $34.2 million in Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimate of $24.87 per gram.

In Miami, where Narcotics News says the cheapest retail street price for cocaine is around $55 per gram, 1,375 kilograms that would bring in at least $75.6 million.

This article is written by David J. Neal from Miami Herald and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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