Coast Guard offloads 13 tons of cocaine worth $350M

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SAN DIEGO -- More than 13 tons of cocaine seized in international waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean from late June to mid-July were offloaded in San Diego Friday by the Coast Guard.

The drugs, worth an estimated $350 million, were seized from six suspected smuggling vessels and two floating cocaine bales found off the coasts of Mexico, Central America and South America by the Coast Guard cutters Robert Ward and Steadfast, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard.

"This was 26,000 pounds of cocaine that will not make it to the main streets of the USA, and it also gives us the opportunity to make sure that we can continue to combat transnational criminal organizations that transport this cocaine deep in the Pacific every single day," said Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, 11th Coast Guard District commander. "Because we know that with a supply chain of illegal narcotics, at every single step there's violence, instability and despair."

In fiscal year 2019, the Coast Guard seized more than 230,000 pounds of cocaine from more than 100 suspected smuggling vessels and detained an estimated 400 suspected smugglers in the drug transit zones of the eastern Pacific Ocean, according to the statement.

The Steadfast is based in Astoria, Oregon. The Robert Ward, which was commissioned in March, is based in San Pedro, California.

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