Local January 21, 2013 | 9:16 am

U.S. Coast Guard nabs 1.3 tons cocaine near Dominican coast

Santo Domingo.– The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo Saturday night interdicted 1.3 tons of cocaine off the coast of Bani, in the Dominican southern region, with a wholesale value of more than US$34 million.

While on a routine patrol, a deployed Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft crew detected a suspicious vessel south of Bani. Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders were notified and diverted the Sapelo crew, who was patrolling the area at the time, to interdict the suspect vessel.

The crew of the aircraft observed the suspected smugglers jettisoning suspicious objects overboard as they fled at a high rate of speed after they noticed law enforcement authorities in the area.

This triggered an interagency response that included aircraft from Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS) and forces from the Dominican Navy.

After searching throughout the night and the following day, the crew of the Sapelo recovered 43 bales of contraband that had been thrown overboard by the suspects aboard the fleeing vessel. Further inspection and testing of the suspected contraband revealed it to be cocaine.

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