Coast Guard seizes $390 million worth of coke and pot

Julia LeDoux
September 12, 2020 - 8:20 am
Offload

Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexander Gray

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The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf offloaded more than 26,000 pounds of seized cocaine and marijuana in San Diego, California on Thursday.

According to a Coast Guard release, the drugs, worth an estimated $390 million, were seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The seizure was the result of 13 suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America between late May.

“These results are unity of effort in action," said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz. "Whole of government, whole of partnerships, this is what it takes to keep illicit drugs off American streets. We take these drugs down at sea, where they're most vulnerable, where they're most susceptible to intercept. In doing that, we break the cycle of those drugs landing in Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico and triggering violence and corruption. That's why this matters."

  • The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf crew was responsible for two interdictions seizing approximately 6,700 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Stratton crew was responsible for three interdictions seizing approximately 6,000 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Confidence crew was responsible for two interdictions seizing approximately 50 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Decisive crew was responsible for one interdiction seizing approximately 1,900 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Venturous crew was responsible for one interdiction seizing approximately 1,100 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Tampa crew was responsible for two interdictions seizing approximately 1,600 pounds of cocaine and 3,650 pounds of marijuana.
  • The USS Kidd, with an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, was responsible for one interdiction seizing approximately 500 pounds of cocaine.
  • The USS Preble, with embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, was responsible for one interdiction seizing approximately 4,400 pounds of cocaine.

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Other speakers at the event included Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Jim Carroll; U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Robert Brewer; and Capt. Brian Anderson, Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf commanding officer.

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“I'm extremely proud of the hard work and dedication displayed by the men and women of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, especially in this current environment,” said Anderson. “The crew adapted and implemented new protocols in response to the added risk of COVID-19 exposure in the course of operations. They remained focused on what they needed to do to keep each other safe and effectively accomplish the mission of keeping these drugs off our streets, which will save countless lives.”

The offload from the Bertholf follows an offoad last month of more than 11,500 pounds of seized suspected cocaine and 17,000 pounds of marijuana from the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton in Port Everglades representing 10 interdictions in the same region. 

So far in fiscal year 2020, the Coast Guard has made more than 171 interdictions, seized more than 282,000 pounds of cocaine, 57,000 pounds of marijuana, and detained more than 391 suspected smugglers in drug transit zones of the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

The Bertholf is a 418-foot national security cutter, commissioned in 2008 and home ported in Alameda.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com

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