The U.S. Coast Guard unloaded close to 12.5 tons of cocaine Thursday morning at Port Everglades in Hollywood, Florida.
The illicit substance has a street value of around $378 million, according to authorities.
The drugs were seized nearly two months ago from several ships in a joint mission with the Royal Canadian Navy. The drug busts happened in the eastern Pacific ocean. The cutter ship, the Escanaba, then made its way back to the Atlantic for the drop-off.
The ship’s commander, Michael Turdo, told WTVJ, a Miami, Florida NBC News affiliate that the operation utilized at least four law enforcement ships.
“The crew's contributions over the past two months directly support our government's efforts to dismantle smuggling routes used by transnational criminal organizations and interdict drugs at sea bound for the United States,” said Turdo.
The Escanaba, based out of Boston, was responsible for capturing six tons of the narcotic from five different vessels. Another cutter, the Thetis, based out of Key West, Florida helped in the raids. There were 16 people arrested in the operation. Authorities estimate that they catch only around 20 percent of smugglers.
Coast Guard facilities in Southern Florida have become a frequent drop-off point for drugs as the U.S. and its international partners step up enforcement in the Pacific ocean, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Capt. Kevin Gavin, who commands the helicopter interdiction tactical squadron, based out of Jacksonville, Florida, said earlier this year that the last three years have set cocaine seizure records for the Coast Guard. In the fiscal year 2014 the Coast Guard seized 22,000 kilograms worth $600 million, in 2015 they seized 52,000 kilograms worth $1.5 billion and in the fiscal year 2016 they captured 73,000 kilograms worth $2.2 billion.