US Coast Guard seizes 8 tons of drugs in international waters

©Agence France-Presse

This handout photograph obtained courtesy of the US Coast Guard shows Coast Guard Cutter Bear (WMEC-901) crewmembers hooking a pallet of interdicted drugs to a crane on the flight deck of the cutter April 18, 2019 at Port Everglades, Florida.

Miami (AFP) - The US Coast Guard unloaded eight tons of drugs worth $62.5 million Thursday at a port in the southeastern state of Florida, having seized them in international waters off the coasts of Mexico, Central America and South America. 

The cargo -- close to 14,000 pounds of marijuana (6.3 metric tons) and 3,600 pounds of cocaine (1.7 metric tons), worth $12.5 million and $50 million respectively -- were offloaded at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, north of Miami. 

The drugs were confiscated over five different operations from boats suspected of smuggling narcotics, the Coast Guard said in a statement. 

"It is through successful interdictions, such as the ones we are offloading today, that impact these criminal organizations," said Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Andrew Dennelly.

In its fiscal year 2017, the Coast Guard confiscated more than 223.8 metric tons of cocaine alone, a 21 percent increase from the previous year, according to its annual performance report.