Coast Guard, CBP, Mexican Navy disrupt marijuana smuggling attempt

SAN DIEGO — U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection and Mexican Navy crews worked together to foil a marijuana smuggling attempt in international waters approximately 150 miles southwest of San Diego, Thursday morning.

Three suspects and approximately 90 bales, weighing an estimated 2,000 pounds, were turned over to the Mexican Navy for prosecution.

“This is another outstanding example of the strong interagency and international partnerships and cooperation we maintain to stem the flow of smuggling,” said Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District. “I am proud of all the vessel, aircraft, command center and support crews who stopped this load of illegal drugs. It is gratifying to see such positive results from our training, exercises and planning with Mexico under the North American Maritime Security Initiative,” he said.

A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Air and Marine Multi-role Enforcement Aircraft crew detected the suspicious panga boat early Thursday morning. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin was diverted to intercept the panga.

The Terrapin’s crew stopped the suspected smugglers, who claimed Mexican nationality, and discovered the marijuana. The suspects, panga and marijuana were turned over to the Mexican Navy at approximately 9:30 a.m.

A C-130 Hercules aircraft crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento also flew in support of this interdiction.

The Terrapin is an 87-foot patrol boat based in Bellingham, Washington.

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