The US Coast Guard has seized more than 14,153 pounds of cocaine worth more than $186 million, according to a news release.
Authorities said the drugs were intercepted during nine separate cases in international waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Twelve suspected smugglers were also apprehended and face prosecution, according to the release.
“The contraband offloaded today represents the professional expertise and dedication of U.S. defense and law enforcement agencies working together to combat the flow of illicit drugs through the Caribbean Region into the United States,” Lt. Peter Hutchison, duty enforcement officer at Coast Guard District Seven said in the release. “This teamwork is imperative to the identification, interception, and seizure of vessels engaged in illicit trafficking and a testament to the hard work of these crews.”
Globally, both cocaine production and demand have jumped dramatically over the past two years, according to a United Nations report released in March. Interceptions by law enforcement agencies around the world have also risen, with a record of almost 2,000 tons of cocaine seized in 2021, according to the report.
CNN’s Isabel Rosales and Kelly Murray also contributed to this report.