Coast Guard seizes 26.5 tons of cocaine

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - DECEMBER 15: Security personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard ship Hamilton guard the approximately 26.5 tons of cocaine on the deck of the ship at Port Everglades on December 15, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The drugs worth an estimated $715 million were from 27 separate, suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions and five bale recovery operations by the U.S. Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Naval crews and its interagency partners. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(CNN) — More than 26 tons of cocaine worth $2 billion have been seized by the US Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy, officials said Thursday.

Approximately 100 suspected drug smugglers were apprehended at sea and turned over to federal authorities, said Vice Adm. Karl Schultz, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. The inter-agency operation intercepted 27 shipments and five bale recovery efforts over the course of 10 weeks, Schultz said.

The 26.5 tons of cocaine were unloaded in South Florida Thursday and Schultz said the drugs came from several areas of South America, including “the Andean Ridge, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia.”

Coast Guard teams have been aboard several ships and have been seizing drugs since Oct. 1.

“This not only showcases the threat posed by dangerous cartels, gangs and criminal groups that make up extensive transitional organized crime networks, but it also highlights the commitment of the Coast Guard and its inter-agency partners…to detect, interdict, investigate and prosecute operatives for these criminal networks,” Schultz said in a statement.

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