US Coast Guard offloading $721m worth of cocaine in San Diego

The US Coast Guard is set to offload over 21 tons of cocaine worth more than $721 million in San Diego on January 25.

The narcotics were seized in 23 separate interdictions in the eastern Pacific Ocean by US and Canadian forces operating in international waters off the coast of Central and South America.

Senior US and Canadian officials will be at the offload to discuss new tactics used by transnational organized crime groups and to highlight international cooperation in combating the threat posed by these dangerous groups.

US Coast Guard personnel currently assigned to Cutter Stratton will turn the narcotics over to federal agents for investigation, prosecution and, ultimately, destruction.

“The threat of transnational organized crime is a danger no one ship, agency, country or person can address alone,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area. “We stand alongside our interagency and international partners resolved in a shared purpose to protect those harmed by these dangerous drugs and bring the criminals who smuggle them to justice.”

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton stopped two low profile go fast boats in three days, resulting in the seizure of more than 5,800 pounds of cocaine worth almost $78 million. The crews stopped five suspected drug smuggling boats in less than two months, resulting in the seizure of more than 12,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $165 million.

The Coast Guard will also offload a case executed by the Canadian HMCS Nanaimo and a US Coast Guard law enforcement detachment, which occurred Nov. 21, 2017. The Canadian-U.S. crew seized more than 3,300 pounds of cocaine worth more than $44 million from a go fast boat in international waters off the coast of Central America.

Since June 2017, the Coast Guard has interdicted 13 low profile go fast boats and two self-propelled semi-submersibles.

Low-profile go-fast boats, a variant design from traditional go-fast boats, ride low in the water to reduce their radar signature, have multiple outboard engines to allow them to travel at high speeds and are painted to blend in with the water to avoid detection from military and law enforcement authorities operating in the region.