One person is dead and two others were arrested after a Coast Guard airborne crew used force to stop a non-compliant boat suspected of smuggling drugs in the Caribbean Sea on New Year’s Day, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard said it seized around 385 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of $11 million and it will be transferred ashore at a later date.
The Coast Guard said it identified the boat suspected of smuggling narcotics and attempted to stop it. The boat failed to stop and Coast Guard District Seven authorized airborne use of force in accordance with policy, including warning shots and disabling fire for a non-compliant boat suspected of smuggling illicit narcotics in international waters, the Coast Guard said.
The law enforcement boarding team arrived on the scene and identified that one of the crewmembers suffered an injury as a result of the force. Officials performed first aid and transferred the individual to higher care ashore in the Dominican Republic, where the person later died due to the injuries.
“The critical homeland security missions the Coast Guard conducts every day as America’s primary maritime law enforcement agency are inherently dangerous,” said Lt. Cmdr. John W. Beal, Coast Guard District Seven public affairs officer. “The Coast Guard takes any loss of life seriously and is working to investigate the incident in accordance with Coast Guard policy.”