US Coast Guard offloads 13 tonnes of seized cocaine

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After several U.S. Coast Guard cutters seized more than 13 tons of cocaine, the crew of USCGC Midgett offloaded the contraband at Naval Base San Diego on February 16.

The cocaine was seized in international waters off the coast of Central and South America by crews of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Sherman, Tahoma, Midgett, Diligence and Mellon from mid-November 2016 through January 2017.

The load represents 21 separate interdictions of suspected drug smuggling “go-fast” vessels, or pangas, by Coast Guard crews.

The Sherman was responsible for seven cases, seizing an estimated 9,600 pounds. Tahoma was responsible for four cases, seizing an estimated 6,800 pounds. Midgett was responsible for three cases, seizing an estimated 5,900 pounds. Diligence handled three cases resulting in the seizure of an estimated 2,900 pounds, and Mellon was responsible for one, seizing an estimated 1,100 pounds.

During Fiscal Year 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard seized more than 416,600 pounds of cocaine and taken 585 suspected smugglers into custody from the Eastern Pacific.

“Criminal and terrorist networks operating in the region, often with direct nexus to the United States, pose a direct threat to citizen safety in the Nation and throughout the Western Hemisphere,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft in his Western Hemisphere Strategy. “Many of these networked groups use maritime means to exploit widespread corruption, underfunded government security efforts, and the region’s role as a global transit zone for illicit movements of people, drugs, and contraband.”

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