NORFOLK -- Agents seized more than a million dollars worth of cocaine from ships at the Port of Norfolk.
On July 27, the Border Enforcement Security Task Force went aboard one ship before it arrived in Norfolk and found 32 kilos in one of the cargo holds.
The illegal drugs were believed to have come from Colombia and headed for Europe, according to agents who added they believe no crew members were involved in the smuggling.
On August 4, three kilos of cocaine were found on a container vessel due to Hampton Roads. Two people were arrested and the investigation continues.
"It's 70 pounds of pure Colombian cocaine," explained Mark J. Laria, Area Port Director with Customs and Border Protection. "How many times is that gonna be cut, and re-cut, and re-cut to where, now, you've got hundreds of pounds in little baggies in the street? So, it's significant for what's been taken off the street."
John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of HSI, added, “These enforcement actions demonstrate that law enforcement agencies working together under the auspices of the BEST, are positioned to disrupt and dismantle smuggling organizations’ efforts to bring their illicit goods into the United States."
The Hampton Roads BEST is comprised of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S Coast Guard, and other law enforcement partners.
"The authorities that each possess, and the expertise that they all bring to bear are what really bring the team effort together," Assistant Special Agent in Charge of HSI Michael Lamonea told 13News. "The results, as you can see, from what happened over the last couple weeks with the narcotics seizures speak for themselves."
"I can't stress enough the importance of this group of individuals who can focus all day long connecting dots and putting little bits of information together to develop that information that allows us to have that tactical advantage over the smuggler," said Laria.