Coast Guard recovers 11 bales of adrift cocaine

Ten of 11 bales of interdicted cocaine in Puerto Rico (Coast Guard Photo)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutters Paul Clark (WPC-1106) and Joseph Tezanos (WPC-1118) crews recovered a total of 11 bales of cocaine approximately 10 miles southwest of Desecheo Island, Friday.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew located a debris field approximately 10 miles southwest of Desecho Island. The cutter Paul Clark crew arrived onscene and recovered 10 bales of cocaine weighing approximately 1,000 pounds from the debris field. The cutter Joseph Tezanos crew recovered an additional bale of cocaine in the vicinity weighing approximately 100 pounds, Saturday.

All 11 bales of cocaine were transferred to the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force personnel.

“The recovery of the 11 bales of cocaine offshore from Puerto Rico highlights the excellent work of the cutter Paul Clark, deployed to Puerto Rico from Miami and the MH-60 crew as well as the Puerto Rico based cutter Joseph Tezanos,” said Cmdr. Beau Powers, Coast Guard Sector San Juan chief of response. “The Coast Guard could not complete the interdiction cycle of success were it not for the outstanding interagency coordination of the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force who supported the drug offload on a holiday weekend.”

On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives. 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 Caribbean Sea 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 Caribbean Sea is conducted under the authority of the 7th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Miami, Florida. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

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