U.S. Coast Guard offloads $36M in cocaine and marijuana

ST. PETERSBURG - More than 4,200 pounds of cocaine and marijuana were unloaded Sunday morning in St. Petersburg by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute.

While at sea training and supporting counter-narcotics and search and rescue operations in the Western Caribbean, they detained four suspected Honduran drug smugglers on September 27.

Initially, a helicopter crew out of Jacksonville detected the four men aboard a 35-foot boat.

During the pursuit of the vessel, the four suspects allegedly jumped into the water in an escape attempt.

The Resolute's small boat crew took all of them into custody and boarded their boat.

Crew members discovered 53 bales that later tested positive for cocaine.

In a separate, but similar incident - the Resolute also intercepted more than $1 million of marijuana when their helicopter spotted another alleged drug smuggling vessel in Nicaragua.

During that operation, 45 bales of marijuana were recovered.

The U.S. Coast Guard crew returned with an estimated 2,921 pounds of cocaine and 1,300 pounds of marijuana -  a total wholesale value of $36 million,

 It was all part of Operation Martillo, an international operation focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies to counter illicit trafficking.

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