The Coast Guard seized 18.5 tons of cocaine worth $ 500 million in a series of operations in international waters, officials said Thursday.
In a news release, officials said the drugs were unloaded at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The drugs were seized from 15 drug trafficking vessels off the coast of Mexico, Central and South America with assistance from other law enforcement agencies.
The operation captured 49 people, with the suspects being prosecuted in South Florida. In recent years, the volume of cocaine smuggled by water has drained Coast Guard resources, Captain Jeffrey Randall told the Miami Herald.
The agency seized 226 tons of cocaine last year and brought 708 suspects.