Coast Guard cutter crew offloads 18,000 pounds of cocaine in San Diego

Coast Guard Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, Pacific Area commander, and Rear Adm. Peter Gauiter, the 11th Coast Guard District commander, stand alongside Capt. Brian Anderson, the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750), and Bertholf’s crew in front of more than 18,000 pounds of cocaine prior to Bertholf’s crew offloading the contraband in San Diego, Dec. 18, 2019. The $312 million worth of seized cocaine was the result of seven separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions and disruptions by Bertholf and four other Coast Guard cutter crews who patrolled international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America between October and November. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Aidan Cooney

Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf crew in front of more than 18,000 pounds of cocaine prior to Bertholf’s crew offloading the contraband in San Diego, Dec. 18, 2019.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Aidan Cooney

SAN DIEGO — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) offloaded approximately 18,000 pounds of cocaine Wednesday seized from known drug-transit zones of the Eastern Pacific Ocean worth approximately $312 million.

The interdictions were made between mid-October and early December by the joint efforts of five separate Coast Guard cutter crews:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Northland (WMEC 904) was responsible for one case seizing 3,328 pounds
  • Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL 754) was responsible for one case seizing 1,609 pounds
  • Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane (WMEC 903) was responsible for one case seizing 5,037 pounds
  • Coast Guard Cutter Thetis (WMEC 910) was responsible for one case seizing 2,394 pounds
    Bertholf was responsible for three cases seizing 5,851 pounds

“This offload demonstrates another successful example of the ‘Cycle of Justice,’ said Vice Adm. Linda L. Fagan, Coast Guard Pacific Area commander. “This cycle begins with intelligence-driven detection and monitoring of illicit activities that then cue the interdiction and apprehension of smugglers and contraband, and ultimately leads to criminal prosecution. This ‘Cycle of Justice’ disrupts a ‘Cycle of Crime,’ which left unchecked, fuels violence and instability that corrodes our Hemisphere’s social and economic fabric, and directly contributes to historically high drug-related deaths in neighborhoods across North America.”

Also in attendance for the offload was Preston Grubbs, the Principal Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Robert Brewer, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.

“One of our key missions is stopping dangerous drugs before they reach our shores,” said Brewer. “Succeeding in that mission would not be possible without the tireless efforts of the United States Coast Guard.”

Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations. The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys in districts across the nation.

“I am deeply proud of the work the men and women of the Bertholf have accomplished,” said Fagan. “I look at theirs as lifesaving work, and while we may never know how many lives were saved here today, this crew and all the crews involved in these interdictions should be proud of what they’ve achieved.”

 

Bertholf crews interdict suspected low-profile go-fast drug-smuggling vessel

 

Bertholf crew offloads $312 mil worth of cocaine in San Diego


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