Coast Guard unloads more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana in Key West

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A Key West-based U.S. Coast Guard cutter took in a large haul of marijuana during a maritime bust in March, and the crew unloaded the contraband last Friday when it returned to its home port in the Southernmost City.

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The Thetis, a 100-foot Famous class cutter, with a crew of 100, returned June 8 from an 88-day mission in the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean.

During the tour, crew members stopped a boat in the Caribbean smuggling 2,116 pounds of marijuana. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, and the Jamaican Defense Force aided the Thetis crew in the seizure, according to a Coast Guard news release.

“This effort represents an ongoing regional maritime security effort in concert with our international partners to combat transnational criminal networks and promote stability across the Caribbean region by disrupting organized crime illegal activities,” Cmdr. Jose Diaz, commander of the Thetis, said in a statement.

CG MJ Bust II.jpg

Coast Guard Cutter Thetis crewmembers offload about 2,116 pounds of marijuana after returning to homeport in Key West, Friday, June 8, 2018. In March, Thetis crewmembers alongside an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, and a Jamaican Defence Force crew stopped a suspected drug smuggling vessel in the Caribbean.

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley J. Johnson)

The Coast Guard estimates the marijuana has a street value of $2 million.

During the tour, the Thetis, along with Coast Guard cutter Heriberto Hernandez, also picked up and returned 29 people from the Dominican Republic migrating away from their country.

The Thetis crew also delivered 300 pre-packaged meals to storm victims in Puerto Rico, who were hit back-to-back by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.

The Coast Guard could not immediately provide information about the arrests of the crew of the smuggling vessel.


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