The Coast Guard seized a record 19.5 tons of U.S.-bound cocaine on a ship off
the coast of Panama and arrested the 14 crew members, the Coast Guard said.
The cocaine, seized Sunday in two containers, was headed for “streets all across America,” said Coast Guard head Admiral Thad Allen. It was the largest haul of cocaine intercepted at sea by US agents, the Coast Guard said.
The Panama-flagged ship, with a crew of Mexicans and Panamanians, was sailing about 30 kilometres southwest of Isla de Coiba, Panama, when it was spotted by a US Coast Guard plane.
Panamanian authorities allowed US agents to carry out the raid, using two California-based Coast Guard cutters. The arrested crew members were being transferred to the US and Panama for prosecution, a Coast Guard statement said.