Coast Guard offloads 13 tons of illicit drugs seized at sea

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – More than 26,000 pounds of cocaine and marijuana were seized from seafaring drug smugglers in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in recent months, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Thursday.

Crews aboard six Coast Guard cutters and two Navy ships intercepted the illicit drugs during separate interdictions off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America between late May and late August, according to USBP public affairs.

“I’m extremely proud of the hard work and dedication displayed by the men and women of the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf, especially in this current environment,” said Capt. Brian Anderson, commanding officer of the Alameda-homeported vessel, whose crew offloaded the confiscated drugs in San Diego Thursday morning.

“The crew adapted and implemented new protocols in response to the added risk of COVID-19 exposure in the course of operations,” he said. “They remained focused on what they needed to do to keep each other safe and effectively accomplish the mission of keeping these drugs off our streets, which will save countless lives.”

So far in fiscal 2020, the Coast Guard has conducted more than 171 interdictions, seizing in excess of 282,000 pounds of cocaine and 57,000 pounds of marijuana, and detaining more than 390 suspected smugglers in drug-transit zones of the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea.

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