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Shipmates detained in Florida for suspected drug crimes

A sailing expedition on the high seas in the Caribbean was brought to a halt in a surprising turn of events on a recent Monday. The U.S. Coast Guard was involved in the situation and helped in the apprehension of several drug smugglers. The vessel in question was brought to a U.S. Coast Guard base in Florida and at least five shipmates were removed from the boat and detained on suspicion of drug crimes.

The situation unfolded when officials grew suspicious that the boat was hauling contraband. Authorities enlisted the aid of the U.S. Coast Guard, who then assisted the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight, who launched a helicopter and a small boat to pursue the suspects. At some point, the boat under suspicion was intercepted.

A search of the vessel ensued. Officials say approximately 14 bales of cocaine were seized. The alleged drugs have an estimated street value of more than $11 million.

A deputy chief of enforcement for the U.S. Coast Guard said it has been cooperating with other law enforcement agencies to thwart the efforts of drug smugglers moving product between South America and the United States. Anyone charged with such drug crimes would no doubt face serious challenges in trying to avoid conviction. Typically, those who are able to keep themselves out of jail have acted alongside experienced and aggressive representation in court. Even in situations where convictions are handed down in Florida, there is much skilled attorneys can do to seek lesser sentences than the maximums allowed by law.

Source: nbcmiami.com, "Coast Guard Reels in $11 Million Worth of Cocaine in Drug Bust", Nov.9, 2016

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