Coast Guard to offload 36,000 lbs. of cocaine seized from Pacific Ocean

SAN DIEGO-- The Coast Guard is expected to offload 36,000 lbs. of cocaine seized during a counter-drug patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuesday.

The contraband is worth an estimated $500 million, and will be offloaded by the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf. The drugs came from smuggling vessels off the Central and South American coasts between February and early March.

The Coast Guard cutter Bertholf   is a combined effort of 17 interdictions and is a 418-foot national security based in Alameda, Calif.

“Thanks in part to the to the hard work and dedication of the brave crew men and women of the Bertholf, and other ships on patrol,we’re seizing record amounts of cocaine for the third year in a row," said Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk, the 11th Coast Guard District commander, who oversees the law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific region.

“This offload by the Bertholf represents the great work being conducted in the Eastern Pacific combating the transnational organized crime groups, behind the drug trade which spread instability, fear and harm to people, communities and entire nations," he added.

Capt. John Driscoll, the Bertholf’s commanding officer is also pleased.

“I’m proud of the hard work and dedication of my crew, as well as the crews of Coast Guard Cutters Bear, Diligence, Harriet Lane, Venturous and the joint and interagency personnel who work hand-in-hand to secure our nation," said Capt. Driscoll.