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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Feds: Tip from Hampton leads to $100 million cocaine bust near Ecuador

Luis Miguel Gonzalez-Cortes (left) and Reinel Galvis Sanchez. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Western Tidewater Regional Jail)
Luis Miguel Gonzalez-Cortes (left) and Reinel Galvis Sanchez. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Western Tidewater Regional Jail)

Federal officials said a tip from drug agents working locally has led to a massive cocaine seizure aboard a submersible vessel off Ecuador’s coast.

The tip came from U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents working in Hampton.

Court documents said the information led to a U.S. Coast Guard seizure of nearly 2,200 pounds (990 kilograms) of cocaine in January.

Federal officials said it had a street value of nearly $100 million.

Authorities say traffickers often use submersible vessels that travel just below the surface to evade authorities.

Two Colombian nationals—Luis Miguel Gonzalez-Cortes, 27, and Reinel Galvis Sanchez, 42—are now facing federal drug charges.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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