More than 1.3 tons of cocaine seized in the Caribbean Sea as suspects abandon ship

More than 1.3 million tons of cocaine was seized from boats during three separate operations in the Caribbean Sea off Colombia, the country’s Navy said Thursday, and the crew members of one of the suspicious vessels abandoned ship when they saw authorities closing in.

In total, the Colombian Navy and air force seized 1,342 kilograms of cocaine that would be valued at $45 million on the international illegal market, officials said in a news release.

Authorities said the first operation was carried out near Tintipán Island off the country’s north coast. Units from the coast guard working with an Air Force plane “detected a suspicious vessel” in the area. After noticing the authorities approaching, the crew members “fled the scene, leaving the boat abandoned,” the Navy said, without disclosing whether the suspects were captured or managed to escape. Officials who boarded the vessel said they found 21 packages containing 526 kilos of cocaine.

During a second operation in the Caribbean, marine and air force units detected a motor boat moving “at high speeds” near the border with Venezuela. Officials said they seized 736 kilograms of cocaine, divided into 22 bags. Two Dominican citizens who crewed the boat were arrested.

In a third operation, coast guard and naval units intercepted a boat that was sailing suspiciously near the border with Panama. Two crewmembers were arrested after 79 kilograms of cocaine was found on board.