Coast Guard seizes $20 million of cocaine

On Sept. 2, the Coast Guard seized more than 1,200 pounds of cocaine, with a wholesale value of more than $20 million, during an at-sea interdiction approximately 500 miles east of Cape Cod.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable interdicted the 49′ sailing vessel Elegance, after it was observed riding suspiciously low in the water, the Coast Guard said. The crew boarded the Elegance and removed contraband that a field test revealed was cocaine, authorities said. 

Both crewmembers of the Elegance were brought aboard the Dependable and the Elegance was taken in tow behind the cutter, the Coast Guard said. Although the sailboat was carrying a Canadian flag, it was stateless and never registered as a Canadian vessel, authorities said. Later, authorities determined that the vessel was registered as the Callisto and its last port-of-call was in Venezuela, according to the Boston Globe.

On Friday, the cutter arrived at Coast Guard Sector Boston to unload the contraband and transfer custody of the two detainees and cocaine to awaiting U.S. Marshall Service and Drug Enforcement Administration officials in Boston, authorities said.  

The Boston Globe reports that Hicham Ramzi Nahra, 27, of Canada and Benjamin Celma-Sedo, 49, of Spain, are facing charges in U.S. District Court in Boston of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute on board a vessel subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

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