Coast Guard offloads $220 million in seized cocaine in San Diego
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – U.S. Coast Guard officials in San Diego Wednesday offloaded more than 11,500 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $220 million, which was seized off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America over the past two months.
The seizures were a result of four separate interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels conducted by three Coast Guard ships, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
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.”