Coast Guard and Customs disrupt two smuggling attempts

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
SAN DIEGO — U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) crews work together to disrupt two marijuana smuggling attempts off the coast of California, Tuesday morning.

The first event began at 12:23 a.m., when the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Edisto encountered a panga boat approximately 47 miles southwest of San Clemente Island. When the suspected smugglers detected the Edisto, they fled south at a high speed and jettisoned packages overboard.

A CBP Multi-Role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) was diverted to track the panga. The smugglers were able to evade law enforcement authorities and the pursuit was disengaged. The Edisto’s crew recovered 122 bales of marijuana, weighing an estimated 2,900 pounds, from the water.

Following an at-sea interdiction by U.S. Coast Guard and Custom and Border Protection crews, 122 bales of marijuana sit on the deck of Coast Guard Cutter Edisto before being turned over to the Maritime Task Force, Aug. 21, 2013. The crews interdicted the drugs approximately 47 miles southwest of San Clemente Island, Aug. 20. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli)

Following an at-sea interdiction by U.S. Coast Guard and Custom and Border Protection crews, 122 bales of marijuana sit on the deck of Coast Guard Cutter Edisto before being turned over to the Maritime Task Force, Aug. 21, 2013. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli)

The marijuana was transported to San Diego and turned over to the Maritime Task Force.

The second event began at 12:29 a.m., when a crew from Coast Guard Station San Diego aboard a 45-foot Response Boat detected a 25-foot recreational boat travelling north approximately 10 miles west of Point Loma.

The Coast Guard crew stopped the boat and observed bales on the deck. The two men aboard the jet boat were detained and the boat was towed into San Diego Bay. A total of 19 suitcases containing marijuana, weighing approximately 1,200 pounds, were found aboard the boat.

The two suspected smugglers, the jet boat, and marijuana were turned over to the Maritime Task Force. The Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection are member agencies of the Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM). The ReCoM is comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, CBP’s Office of Air and Marine, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and state and local law enforcement partners operating in the Southern California. The ReCoM utilizes the fusion of intelligence, planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border.

Click the photo for more from the cases.

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