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Coast Guard offloads $468 million worth of seized cocaine in San Diego

A Coast Guard crew offloaded nearly 34,000 pounds of seized cocaine, estimated to be worth around $468 million, in San Diego on Tuesday. 

Officials say that the offload comes as the result of eight different "interdictions or events" with suspected smuggling vessels off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America in February and March.

All of the events, which were completed by the crew onboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Munro, netted thousands of pounds of cocaine. 

"The crew put in an incredible amount of work over very long hours, and I couldn't be prouder of them," said Capt. Rula Deisher, commanding officer, Coast Guard Cutter Munro in a statement. "Their dedication and grit goes to show that Munro is one of the best national security cutters in the fleet, and we are committed to keeping the country safe by stopping illegal drugs before they hit the street. There isn't a better crew to serve with and I'm honored to have spent my final patrol with them." 

The interdictions, or interception of the narcotics, happened on three dates in February and four dates in March. In all, crews recovered:

  • 3,946 pounds of cocaine on Feb. 21, 
  • 3,803 pounds of cocaine on Feb. 24,
  • 3,108 pounds of cocaine on Feb. 26,
  • 4,709 pounds of cocaine on March 10,
  • 7,852 pounds of cocaine on March 17,
  • 2,841 pounds of cocaine on March 18,
  • 2,841 pounds of cocaine on March 18,
  • 4,784 pounds of cocaine on March 23. 

"I am extremely proud of this crew and their dedication to disrupting organized crime in the Eastern Pacific," said Rear Admiral Andrew Sugimoto, commander, Coast Guard District 11. "The effort put in while interdicting more than 33,000 lbs of cocaine in a few weeks' time is unparalleled. We will continue our commitment to stopping these criminals and the vast amounts of drugs they attempt to bring into our country." 

The Coast Guard says that multiple U.S. agencies collaborate in order to combat transnational organized crime, including the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security and the Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, DEA and Immigration an Customs Enforcement. 

"The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases, from detection and monitoring to interdictions and criminal prosecutions," said a statement from the USCG. 

Officials say that Coast Guard Cutter Munro, which is stationed in Alameda, is the sixth Legend Class National Security Cutter. It is commonly deployed to regions through the entire Pacific Rim, including some calls to ports in San Diego, Kodiak and Honolulu as well as foreign destinations like Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Japan and the Pacific Island Nations. 

"The Coast Guard Cutter Munro's crew can operate in the most demanding open ocean environments, including the hazardous fisheries of the North Pacific and the vast approaches of the Southern Pacific, where significant narcotics trafficking occurs," the statement said. 

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