More than 26,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $ 350 million was offloaded in San Diego Friday after the U.S. Coast Guard seized the drugs during a weeks-long operation in international waters.
Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC-632) seized the narcotics on six separate missions in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico, Central and South America between late June and mid-July, officials said in a news release.
WATCH: ALLEGED COCAINE SMUGGLERS TOSS ITEMS OVERBOARD DURING HIGH-SPEED PACIFIC PURSUIT
On the left, Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast interdict a go fast vessel in international waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean on July 18, 2019. On the right, crew members uncover a compartment concealing multiple bales of cocaine beneath the floorboard of a panga interdicted June 30, 2019, while patrolling international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/ U.S. Coast Guard )
“This was 26,000 pounds of cocaine that will not make it to the main streets of the U.S.A, and it also gives us the opportunity to make sure that we can continue to combat transnational criminal organizations that transport this cocaine deep in the Pacific every single day,” Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, the 11th Coast Guard District commander, said.
A Coast Guard Cutter Robert Ward crew member inspects and prepares to test suspected contraband seized from a suspected drug smuggling boat in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, July 16, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard)
Friday’s offload comes on the heels of the July 11 offload where officials said crews seized nearly 40,000 pounds of cocaine from 14 interdictions.
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A crewmember of Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast uses a forklift to move a pallet of cocaine in San Diego, July 26, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Akiyama)
This year alone, the Coast Guard has intercepted more than 230,000 pounds of the narcotic and has detained more than 400 smugglers from the Eastern Pacific Ocean drug transit zones.
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