SAN DIEGO -- More than seven tons of cocaine seized in international waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean from February to late March was off-loaded in San Diego Friday by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche.
The drugs were impounded from six suspected smuggling vessels intercepted off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America by the cutters Active, Steadfast and Waesche, according to USCG public affairs.
"The offload that you see behind me -- the bales of cocaine -- represents a successful example of the cycle of justice," said Rear Adm. Nathan Moore, deputy commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area. "This cycle of justice disrupts a cycle of crime which, left unchecked, fuels violence and instability that erodes our hemisphere's social and economic fabric and directly contributes to historically high numbers of drug-related deaths in North America.
Capt. Patrick Dougan, commanding officer of the Waesche, called his vessel an example of ""the Coast Guard's most sophisticated and technologically advanced asset."
"However, it would be ineffective without the men and women who serve aboard," Dougan said. "Everyone on board plays an important role, and manning these ships requires everyone to contribute."
The Coast Guard has increased U.S. and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Basin, known drug-transit zones off of Central and South America, as part of its Western Hemisphere strategy, according to a statement from the maritime agency.
The Waesche, homeported in Alameda, California, was responsible for stopping two vessels, while the Active, homeported in Port Angeles, Washington, and the Steadfast, homeported in Astoria, Oregon, also stopped two vessels each.