Attorney General Jeff Sessions heads to San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions planned to observe Coast Guard officials today in San Diego as they offloaded more than 50,000 pounds of cocaine and heroin seized from seafaring drug traffickers since the beginning of August.

Coast Guard officials said that with the drugs that will be offloaded Wednesday — worth nearly $680 million — the agency has now seized more than 455,000 pounds of drugs in fiscal year 2017, breaking the previous record of 443,000 pounds seized in fiscal year 2016.

This year’s record-breaking haul was worth an estimated $6.1 billion.

"By preventing overdoses and stopping new addictions before they start, enforcing our drug laws saves lives,” Sessions said in a statement. "I commend every service member who has helped us in our mission to keep the American people safe, and I thank them for this indispensable contribution to public safety.”

The drugs will be offloaded beginning at 9 a.m. today at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. The illicit cargo was seized in 25 separate operations conducted by four Coast Guard cutters based in California, South Carolina, Virginia and Oregon, plus the Navy’s USS Chafee, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

"These drugs represent the scale of the threat transnational organized crime poses to our nation and to all peaceful nations of the Western Hemisphere," Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft said. "The Coast Guard and Justice Department, along with interagency partners, are determined to commit our efforts to detect, interdict, investigate and prosecute the entirety of these criminal networks and end the drug fueled instability and violence in the region.”

Coast Guard officials said they’ve also arrested more than 600 suspected drug traffickers during the fiscal year that’s set to end at the end of this month, with information from the lower-level traffickers often leading to arrests of higher-ups in the organizations.

"From 2002 to 2011, information obtained from suspects apprehended by the Coast Guard contributed to the arrest and extradition of more than 75
percent of drug kingpins,” the agency said.

The Coast Guard and its partners are still processing all drug removals, but a preliminary total for fiscal year 2017 stands at 455,034 pounds of drugs seized, the agency said. A final, official tally will be released early next month.

Categories: Local San Diego News