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Coast Guard seizes 16 tons of cocaine

Coast Guard officials reportedly said Tuesday that annual cocaine seizures have increased each of the last three years, and with 50,000 kilos already in the bag for 2017, US law enforcement is on pace to break the record of 73,000 intercepted kilos set last year.

A Charleston-based Coast Guard cutter is returning to port after taking part in an operation that seized roughly 16 tons of cocaine off the Central and South American coasts.

The DEA reported an estimated 67 percent spike in cocaine production in Colombia a year ago, with the illicit crop making a comeback despite a US -backed eradication campaign that has cost American taxpayers billions of dollars.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James' crew offloaded 16 tons of cocaine, worth an estimated $420 million Tuesday in Port Everglades. She said two of the men were arrested after they jumped into the water.

Captain Keith Gavin, who over seas the helicopter squadron, said they average about 12 interdictions a month. "And I wish it wasn't", said Gavin.

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The Coast Guard Cutter James and Hitron were responsible for five cases, seizing an estimated 5.19 tons of cocaine.

Fedor said most of the missions to seize the drugs do not involve violence but, on occasion, warning shots are fired or shots are fired to disable a boat's engine.

Stopping the flow of cocaine from South America, where the cocoa crop is thriving, is important for many reasons, according to Fedor.

"They're not just carrying cocaine".

Authorities arrested more than 30 drug smugglers over the course of the almost month long mission who will face prosecution in the U.S. Fedor noted how important these seizures are during a time when the cocoa crop is thriving in South America.

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