The Coast Guard has been indispensable in the process of identifying suspicious vessels at sea. When they do, they can call for backup and pursue the situation. This has figured into many drug crime cases with ties to Florida, such as a recent one where authorities seized $37 million worth of cocaine.
The case involved surveillance done from a fixed-wing aircraft operated by the Coast Guard. In the course of that surveillance, Coast Guard members noticed a 25-foot vessel with four people on board. It was speeding near the Dominican Republic and headed south.
The Coast Guard noticed that there were several suspicious packages on board. Because of that, they called the Wave Knight, a British Royal military ship. The Wave Knight then launched a Coast Guard helicopter that included armed personnel and sent it after the suspicious vessel.
When the helicopter arrived at the scene, the chase began, with the helicopter pursing the vessel from the air. As that happened, the four men on the boat started throwing the suspicious packages overboard. The Coast Guard fired warning shots, and then they fired an object directly at the vessel in order to disable it. This allowed law enforcement officials to board the ship and take the four men into custody. They have appeared in federal court, where a judge advised them of the charges and determined if bond would be set in the cases. Reports indicate that the men will remain in custody until the cases are finished.
All four of the men have now been indicted on multiple drug trafficking charges in Florida. The assistance of attorneys who have extensive experience in dealing with drug crime cases, especially those that involve trafficking, could prove invaluable.
Source: Miami Herald Florida Wires, “4 indicted for drug trafficking in Caribbean” No author given, Jan. 30, 2014