USCG Southeast

Published: Aug 22, 2014 11:44 AM EDT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.- The Coast Guard offloaded approximately 576 kilograms of cocaine, worth an estimated wholesale value of nearly $19 million, today in St. Petersburg.

During a patrol on August 7, the Coast Guard Miami detected a vessel south of the Dominican Republic. Crewmembers pursued the suspected drug smuggling vessel and detained five suspected smugglers. Officers seized 18 bales of contraband, which later tested positive for cocaine.

The suspects will be turned over to federal law enforcement officials in St. Petersburg.