PORTSMOUTH -- A major drug bust off the coast of Florida for a Portsmouth-based ship.
The Coast Guard Cutter Legare offloaded more than 7,200 pounds of cocaine Tuesday. The wholesale value of the drugs is estimated at $110 million, according to Coast Guard officials.
The offload is a result of two separate drug interdictions.
On March 15, law enforcement officials identified a boat suspected of smuggling drugs while patrolling the Caribbean Sea.
When officials boarded the vessel, no drugs were found. The vessel later caught fire and sank, officials said. All passengers aboard the vessel were pulled to safety.
A subsequent search of the area located approximately 97 bales of cocaine, totaling about 5,200 pounds.
On March 19, crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Legare pursued a go-fast vessel in the southwest Caribbean Sea.
An armed, Coast Guard heicopter crews launched and fired warning shots in attempt to get the suspects to stop. The crew then fired a shot at on of the engines prompting the suspected smugglers to jettison nearly 2,000 pounds of cocaine.
A law enforcement team from the Legare boarded the vessel and verified it was Colombian-flagged, with five Colombian nationals aboard.
The five suspects were transferred to Colombian forces for further processing.