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US Coast Guard joint operation seizes $63 million worth of cocaine at Florida port

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MIAMI (AP) — A joint operation of the US Coast Guard and the Royal Netherlands Navy recovered 4,800 pounds (2,177 kilograms) of cocaine worth more than $63 million this week from a vessel at a Florida port, according to the Coast Guard.

The seizure Thursday was the result of a joint operation between the two agencies, including two actions off the coast of Puerta Cabello, Venezuela, the Coast Guard said in a social media post. The post showed officers from both agencies offloading large sealed containers from the ship onto pallets at Port Everglades in Florida.

It was the second time the joint operation engaged a vessel believed to be carrying drugs this week. In a release Tuesday, a Coast Guard spokesperson said the team engaged a high-speed vessel in the Caribbean Sea thought to be smuggling narcotics.

The vessel refused orders to stop and instead increased speed and changed direction toward the Dutch pursuit boat. The boat of Dutch and US Coast Guard members opened fire on the boat in self-defense, US Coast Guard officials said.

The vessel caught fire and sank. Three suspected smugglers went overboard. A search for the smugglers was suspended Tuesday, authorities said.

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