Coast Guard brings in 14 tons of seized cocaine

Posted at 11:14 AM, Apr 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-07 15:11:21-04

The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy returned to San Diego Thursday to unload 14 tons of cocaine seized during a lengthy operation.

During the period between Jan. 27-March 8, the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf spent time in the eastern Pacific and completed 13 drug busts.

In a March 3 operation, the Bertholf tracked a submarine for 500 miles and eventually found 6.4 tons of cocaine onboard.

"It was so exciting; I can't believe that there are submarines out there that have drugs," said Operations Specialist Heidi Olson.

Olson helped coordinate the capture, in which Coast Guard and law enforcement planes tracked the submarine for 500 miles while the ship got into place.

"We put our air assets first, small boats next. We have one person on scene and the next people are coming in. It's all on video, it's pretty cool," said Olson.

Several drug smugglers were also arrested and turned over to the Justice Department.

"It feels good," said Coast Guard Capt. Laura Collins. "It's really satisfying for all the individual work we put in, all the work as a team … Lots of international partnerships, lots of inter-governmental partnerships went into this."

Olson told 10News, "I didn't think I'd be doing this kind of stuff in the Coast Guard. I thought it was all about saving lives and everything like that. But now that I'm on this boat, I see all the stuff I can do besides that, it's great. It's very important …"

In November 2015, the Coast Guard returned with 25 tons of seized cocaine.