SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard offloaded more than $92 million worth of seized cocaine in San Diego on Oct. 16, according to a release from the Coast Guard’s 11th District.
The cocaine was seized in international waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean. The contraband represents four suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions by the crews of three Coast Guard cutters off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America between late July and early October by the following Coast Guard cutters:
• Alert (WMEC-630) was responsible for two cases, seizing 4,000 pounds of cocaine
• Robert Ward (WPC-1130) was responsible for one case, seizing 1,500 pounds of cocaine
• Seneca (WMEC-906) was responsible for one case, seizing 1,400 pounds of cocaine
Numerous U.S. agencies from the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security are involved in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with allied and international partner agencies play a role in counter-drug operations.
“I am extremely proud of this crew for doing their part to keep these dangerous drugs off the streets,” said Cmdr. Tyson Scofield, Alert’s commanding officer. “The eastern Pacific Ocean is a challenging environment, especially on a ship that is in her 50th year of service, yet this crew persevered to disrupt the illegal flow of narcotics that fuels instability in Central and South America.”
The Coast Guard increased the U.S. and allied presence in the eastern Pacific and Caribbean, which are known drug transit zones off Central and South America, as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy. During at-sea interdictions, a suspect vessel is located and tracked by allied, military or law enforcement personnel. The interdictions, including the actual boarding, are led and conducted by the Coast Guard. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District headquartered in Alameda.