Watch the crew of the US Coast Guard Cutter Sherman as they unload approximately 11 tonnes of cocaine seized in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in just six weeks.
In just six weeks, the US Coast Guard has seized around 11 tonnes of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The operation in international waters off the coast of Central and South America involved crews of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Alert, Reliance, Sherman, Tampa, and Vigorous.
The drugs were offloaded at the Naval Base, San Diego, and will be scheduled for destruction.
The load represents 15 separate interceptions of suspected drug smuggling “go-fast” vessels or pangas by Coast Guard crews. These took place between mid-June and the end of July.
The Alert was responsible for four cases, seizing an estimated 6,500 pounds.
Reliance was responsible for three cases, seizing an estimated 5,000 pounds.
Sherman handled two cases resulting in the seizure of an estimated 2,800 pounds.
Tampa was responsible for three cases, seizing an estimated 4,400 pounds, and Vigorous was responsible for three, seizing an estimated 3,400 pounds.
Commander of the 11th Coast Guard District, Rear Admiral Todd Sokalzuk said: “Our crews’ law enforcement expertise and dedication in a challenging, complex environment resulted in this series of impressive drug busts.”
“The diligence of these cutter crews, as well as the air crews and operations support crews ashore, has stopped tonnes of drugs from reaching our streets. Their success disrupts the violent criminal organisations that ship these drugs and saves lives here at home.”
Combating transnational organised crime networks, from which the illegal drug trade stems, is of paramount importance to the national security of the US.
It is a mission in which the US Coast Guard and partner agencies are heavily engaged.
Since fiscal year 2016 began in October, the US Coast Guard has seized more than 81 tonnes of cocaine and taken 329 suspected smugglers into custody in 108 interdictions in the Eastern Pacific.
In June, 21 tonnes of cocaine was unloaded in San Diego by US Coast Guard officials following seizures in international waters during April and May.
The drugs were discovered on vessels off the coast of Central and South America during operations in the area.
“Criminal and terrorist networks operating in the region, often with direct nexus to the United States, pose a direct threat to citizen safety in the Nation and throughout the Western Hemisphere,” commended Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft.
“Many of these networked groups use maritime means to exploit widespread corruption, underfunded government security efforts, and the region’s role as a global transit zone for illicit movements of people, drugs, and contraband,” he added.
Alert is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter stationed in Astoria, Oregon.
Reliance is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter based in Kittery, Maine.
Sherman is a 378-foot high endurance cutter from Honolulu, Hawaii.
Tampa is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter based in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Vigorous is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
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