Coast Guard offloads $721 million worth of cocaine in San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- U.S. Coast Guard personnel in San Diego Thursday offloaded more than 23 tons of cocaine seized in recent months from seafaring drug traffickers in the Eastern Pacific.

The haul of contraband, unloaded from the cutter Stratton, was netted during 23 interdictions by U.S. and Canadian forces operating in international waters off the coasts of Central and South America, according to USCG officials.

The 47,000-plus pounds of cocaine would have been worth $721 million in the illegal drug marketplace, authorities said. U.S. Coast Guard personnel turned the narcotics over to federal agents for investigation, prosecution and, ultimately, destruction.

"The threat of transnational organized crime is a danger no one ship, agency, country or person can address alone," said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard 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."