Coast Guard Offloads More Than 25 Tons of Cocaine and Heroin in San Diego
SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard offloaded 50,550 pounds of cocaine and heroin worth an estimated $679.3 million at Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Sept. 20, which marks a record-breaking year in cocaine seizures for the service.
The cumulation of drugs was the result of 25 separate seizures conducted by four Coast Guard cutters and a Navy ship since the first interdiction Aug. 2, the Coast Guard reported Sept. 20. This offload marked more than 455,034 pounds of cocaine worth more than $6.1 billion that has been intercepted by the Coast Guard in fiscal 2017, besting the service’s previous record of 443,000 pounds set in fiscal 2016. The Coast Guard and its interagency partners are still compiling drug removal numbers for fiscal 2017 and will release a final total after Oct. 1.
“By preventing overdoses and stopping new addictions before they start, enforcing our drug laws saves lives,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “This record-breaking year by our Coast Guard saw the arrest of more than 600 suspected drug traffickers and kept nearly half a million pounds of dangerous drugs from getting to our streets — and ultimately to our neighbors, friends and families. 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 Coast Guard delivered nearly 600 suspected smugglers to the Department of Justice for prosecution in the U.S. during fiscal 2017. 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.
“These drugs represent the scale of the threat transnational organized crime poses to our nation and to all peaceful nations of the Western Hemisphere,” said Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the Coast Guard. “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.”
This offload represented seizures conducted by the following crews:
■ Coast Guard Cutter Stratton, homeported in Alameda, Calif.
■ Coast Guard Cutter James, homeported in Charleston, S.C.
■ Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, homeported in Virgina Beach, Va.
■ Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast, homeported in Astoria, Ore.
■ USS Chafee, homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.