Coast Guard intercepts more than 3 tons of marijuana off Southern California

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert, a 210-foot cutter homeported in Astoria, Ore., recovered more than 3.3 tons of marijuana from the Pacific Ocean approximately 90 miles west of San Nicolas Island, Calif., Sunday morning.

A Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento located the suspected smugglers’ vessel during a routine offshore patrol.  The suspects began jettisoning bales as the boat sped south at a high rate of speed.  The C-130 vectored the Alert to the area where the crew recovered more than 245 bales of contraband.

“Thanks to our Coast Guard crews in the air and on the water, we disrupted this smuggling threat and recovered a huge amount of drugs today,” said Cmdr. Daniel Pickles, commanding officer of the Alert. “I am proud to say that several thousand pounds of illegal drugs worth hundreds of thousands of dollars will be kept off our streets and away from our children.”

Coast Guard and other agency crews regularly patrol the waters off of Southern California to detect, deter, and disrupt the smuggling of illegal migrants and drugs and to help ensure the safety and security of the region.  Boaters and coastal residents are encouraged to report any suspicious activity they observe to the Coast Guard or local police.

“The persistent presence of Coast Guard assets, along with those of our law enforcement partners, off of California’s shores is essential to stop the pangas smuggling people and drugs into the U.S.,” said 11th Coast Guard District Commander Karl Schultz.  “The Sinaloa cartel and other criminal organizations are exploiting these sea routes to move their illicit cargo and fund their broader illegal enterprises.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Alert is based in Astoria, Ore., and was commissioned on August 4, 1969. It is the last of the Coast Guard’s 210-foot medium endurance cutter’s constructed. The ship, with a crew of 75, conducts law enforcement, search and rescue, and environmental protection missions from Alaska to the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert, a 210-foot cutter homeported in Astoria, Ore., offload more than 3.3 tons of marijuana in San Diego, March 31, 2013. The cutter crew recovered the narcotics from the water approximately 90 miles west of San Nicolas Island, Calif., March 31, 2013 after suspected smugglers jettisoned more than 245 bales of contraband after they were spotted by a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules maritime patrol aircraft. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli)

Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert, a 210-foot cutter homeported in Astoria, Ore., offload more than 3.3 tons of marijuana in San Diego, March 31, 2013. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli 

Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert, a 210-foot cutter homeported in Astoria, Ore., offload more than 3.3 tons of marijuana in San Diego, March 31, 2013. The cutter crew recovered the narcotics from the water approximately 90 miles west of San Nicolas Island, Calif., March 31, 2013 after suspected smugglers jettisoned more than 245 bales of contraband after they were spotted by a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules maritime patrol aircraft. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli)

Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert, a 210-foot cutter homeported in Astoria, Ore., offload more than 3.3 tons of marijuana in San Diego, March 31, 2013. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli

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One Comment

  1. Grammaw Avilla says:

    We are so proud of these young folks that are out there trying so hard to keep our shores safe.They are in my prayers every day and always in my heart.God Bless.