ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WCIV) -- Coast Guardsmen stationed in St. Petersburg, Fla., offloaded more than $18 million in cocaine Wednesday.
The Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket received the illegal drugs after two separate raids by the Dolphin helicopter crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin.
On Nov. 20, the Gallatin deployed the helicopter crew to investigate at 25-foot vessel north of Punta de Mosquito, Panama, in international waters and found a crew jettisoning packages of what the crew believed to be drugs.
The crew fired warning shots, stopped the vessel and gathered 14 bales of contraband, officials said.
The second seizure happened five days later northeast of Colombia when the crew encountered a 30-foot vessel.
In that investigation, the crew found 10 bales of cocaine.
This interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, which is one component in the United States government's whole-of-government approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, and cash.