San Diego Coast Guard and partner agencies seize 2 tons of marijuana

SAN DIEGO — U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection worked together to seize almost 4,000 pounds of marijuana approximately 130 miles southwest of Point Loma, Calif., Monday afternoon.

A Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew first spotted a suspicious 40-foot panga boat with three people aboard off the coast of San Clemente Island during a routine patrol.

Coast Guard Cutter Edisto, based in San Diego, and Coast Guard Cutter Pike, based in San Francisco, a Coast Guard Station San Diego 45-foot response boat, a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft and a CBP Office of Air and Marine Blackhawk helicopter were dispatched to assist in the interdiction.

The Edisto chased the panga into Mexican waters where the Mexican navy took over pursuit of the suspected smugglers.

The Pike crew recovered 281 bales thrown overboard from the panga by the suspects as they fled south at a high rate of speed. The contraband was transported to Naval Base Point Loma and turned over to the interagency San Diego Marine Task Force.

“I’m proud of our crews, our partners at Customs and Border Protection, and our counterparts in Mexico for their quick response and coordination on this case,” said Rear Adm. Karl Schultz, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District. “We share a common goal of protecting our citizens, stopping smugglers and securing our coastal borders from criminal organizations. Stopping this load of drugs meets that goal and helps deny drug traffickers the resources they need to perpetuate their destructive enterprise.”

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 Southern California. ReCoM coordinates planning and operations to target the threat of transnational crime along the coastal border.

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