SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A massive haul of cocaine worth an estimated $220 million was offloaded in San Diego Wednesday after being seized by the Coast Guard in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
More than 11,000 pounds of cocaine was dropped off by the Coast Guard cutter Active at the Broadway Pier on Wednesday morning. The drugs were confiscated during operations that took place in April and May.
According to Coast Guard officials, the cocaine was intercepted from four different smuggling vessels during four separate incidents off the coasts of Mexico, Central America, and South America.
A dozen people have been detained in connection with the interdictions and are awaiting federal charges, officials said.
"Interdictions in the Eastern Pacific are critical to targeting and prosecuting transnational criminals," said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman, who credited the efforts of the Coast Guard ships involved for preventing "the sale and future distribution of hundreds of thousands of pounds of cocaine each year."
Ships involved in the seizures include:
-- the Coast Guard Cutter Active, which was responsible for two interdictions seizing about 5,600 pounds of cocaine
-- the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast, which was responsible for one interdiction seizing around 2,470 pounds of cocaine
-- the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, which was responsible for one interdiction seizing about 3,660 pounds of cocaine
"These loads represent crime that will not occur on U.S. streets," said Rear Adm. Brian Penoyer, the Eleventh Coast Guard District commander. "They represent lives that will not be disrupted by dangerous narcotics and more importantly, they represent real dollars out of the pockets of the transnational criminal organizations that will otherwise conduct all manner of illicit activities, not limited simply to the trafficking of narcotics."
Coast Guard leadership lauded the teamwork of all the agencies involved in the operations, including the Navy, Marines, DEA and U.S. Attorney’s Office. Officials also highlighted the sacrifices made by all of those involved and the families back home.
City News Service contributed to this report