Coast Guard offloads more than $721 million of seized coke in San Diego

A crew member from the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton directs a crane operator offloading cocaine from the flight deck of the cutter in San Diego, Jan. 25, 2018. More than 47,000 pounds of cocaine with a value of more than $721 million, was seized in 23 different interdiction in international waters off the coast of Central and South America. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class DaVonte’ Marrow)

Crewmembers of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton pulled into port at San Diego Thursday with more than $721 million worth of cocaine, more than 47,000 pounds, from 23 interdictions in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central and South America.

“The threat of transnational organized crime is a danger no one ship, agency, country or person can address alone,” said Vice Adm. Fred M. Midgette, the commander of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area.

“We stand alongside our interagency and international partners resolved in a shared purpose to protect those harmed by these dangerous drugs and bring the criminals who smuggle them to justice,” the admiral said.

The haul aboard Stratton, home ported in Alameda, California, included seizures by Canada’s HMCS Nanaimo, homeported in Esquimalt, British Colombia, as well as from five interdictions by the Astoria, Oregon-based Cutter Steadfast, five from the Key West, Florida-based Cutter Mohawk, five from Portsmouth, Virginia-base Cutter Northland and two from Key West-based Cutter Thetis.

Stratton’s own haul of 12,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $165 million was from five interdictions during its two-month patrol, including stopping two low profile go-fast boats in three days. The go-fast boats were found with more than $5,800 pounds of coke worth more than $78 million.

The Coast Guard said its success is the product of new tactics.

Beginning in June, Coast Guard ships have stopped 13 of these low profile go-fast boats and two self-propelled semi-submersible barges. These go-fast boats are a new generation of speed boats that are modified for smuggling with hulls lying extremely in the water in order to reduce their radar signature.

These go-fast boats have multiple engines to generate high speeds and are painted so as to blend into the water.

Watch this Coast Guard video of the offload of more than 47,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $721 million: 

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