SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - 36,000 pounds of cocaine seized in the Eastern Pacific Ocean will be offloaded Tuesday from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf onto San Diego’s B Street Pier.
The contraband is from 17 busts on smuggling vessels off the coasts of Central and South America, officials said. Five Coast Guard cutters were involved in the seizures between early February and early March.
Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk, the 11th Coast Guard District commander who oversees the law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific region, said the Coast Guard is seizing record amounts of cocaine for the third year in a row.
“I’m proud of the hard work and dedication of my crew, as well as the crews of Coast Guard Cutters Bear, Diligence, Harriet Lane, Venturous and the joint and interagency personnel who work hand-in-hand to secure our nation,” said Capt. John Driscoll, the Bertholf’s commanding officer. “These crews worked around-the-clock to seize this load of contraband that denies traffickers about half a billion dollars’ worth of illicit proceeds that would have gone to fund the nefarious work of transnational criminal organizations, helps prevent a great deal of human suffering and will likely save hundreds of lives that would have been lost to these illegal drugs.”