Coast Guard offloads 7,500 pounds of cocaine, marijuana in San Diego

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) offloads approximately 7,500 pounds of seized cocaine and marijuana in San Diego, March 20, 2021. The drugs, worth an estimated $126.7 million, were seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean between January and February representing 10 suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by the following Coast Guard and Navy ships. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Magee/Released)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf offloads approximately 7,500 pounds of seized cocaine and marijuana in San Diego, March 20, 2021.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Magee)

SAN DIEGO — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) offloaded approximately 7,500 pounds of seized cocaine and marijuana in San Diego Wednesday.

The drugs, worth an estimated $126.7 million, was seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean between January and February representing 10 suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by the ollowing Coast Guard and Navy ships:

  • The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) crew was responsible for four interdictions seizing approximately 6,200 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL-755) crew was responsible for three interdictions seizing approximately 1,100 pounds of cocaine and 50 pounds of marijuana.
  • The Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 107, deployed aboard the USS Freedom (LCS-1), was responsible for one interdiction seizing approximately 22 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane (WMEC-903) crew was responsible for one interdiction seizing approximately 50 pounds of marijuana.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) crew was responsible for one interdiction seizing approximately 22 pounds of cocaine.

On April 1, U.S. Southern Command increased counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs. 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 Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the authority of the 11th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Alameda. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Bertholf is a 418-foot national security cutter, commissioned in 2008 and homeported in Alameda. The Munro is a 418-foot national security cutter homeported in Alameda. The Freedom is a 387-foot littoral combat ship homeported in San Diego. The Harriet Lane is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia. The Vigilant is a 210-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Florida.


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