SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A U.S. Coast Guard crew arrived in San Diego Wednesday to offload more than 7,500 pounds of cocaine and marijuana worth over $126 million that was seized in International waters.
The narcotics seizures occurred in 10 separate incidents off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America between January and February.
- Bertholf (WMSL 750): Four cases seizing about 6,200 pounds of cocaine;
- Munro (WMSL 755): Three cases seizing about 1,100 pounds of cocaine and 50 pounds of marijuana;
- USS Freedom (LCS 1): One cases seizing about 22 pounds of cocaine;
- Harriet Lane (WMEC 903): One case seizing about 50 pounds of marijuana; and
- Vigilant (WMEC 617): One cases seizing about 22 pounds of cocaine.
The narcotics have a street value of more than $127 million, according to the Coast Guard.
"The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation," said Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant in a statement.
The Coast Guard has increased its presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean to disrupt the flow of drugs. The area of water is known as a drug transit zone for Central and South America.
During the confrontations in international waters, the suspected vessel is initially located and tracked by an allied, military, or law enforcement personnel. The Coast Guard, however, handles the actual boarding of suspect vessels.