The combined efforts of the federal agencies that are part of a Caribbean drug strike force are being credited with intercepting a cocaine shipment worth an estimated $30 million that appeared to be heading to the U.S. Federal officials say the events leading to the seizure of 2,000 pounds of the drug began after a suspicious “go-fast” vessel was spotted by the crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection plane on a routine patrol off the coast of the Dominican Republic on Jan. 2. The go-fast boats, often referred to as "cigarette" boats, are small and fast vessels that are a favorite of drug smugglers.

'Numerous' bales of cocaine seized

The USS Zephyr, a Navy patrol ship with members of a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment on board, was sent to intercept the boat. When the Navy ship stopped the go-fast boat crews seized “numerous” bales of cocaine packed inside the boat and arrested four smugglers. The smugglers and their load of cocaine were transferred from the Zephyr to the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley. From there, the cutter took the smugglers and their drug shipment to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the smugglers were taken into custody by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, while Coast Guard crews offloaded the seized cocaine.

“The strong partnerships and excellent coordination between the Coast Guard, the U.S.

Navy and the federal law enforcement agencies involved in this case prevented this major drug shipment from reaching shore and delivered those responsible to justice,” Coast Guard Capt. Robert Warren said in a statement released to the media after the cocaine was offloaded. “Our collective efforts seek to secure our nation’s maritime border and protect the citizens of Puerto Rico and the U.S.

Virgin Islands from this threat.”

Bust comes after 27 tons of cocaine seized in various patrols

The seizing of the cocaine early in the new year comes after the Coast Guard announced late last month that its cutters had returned to the U.S. with 27 tons of cocaine -- or nearly $800 million worth of the drug -- seized during patrols of the Caribbean and off the coast of South America.