US Coast Guard offloads record $679.3m of cocaine

Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands in with Coast Guard men and women prior to a drug offload in San Diego, Calif. Photo: US Coast Guard

The US Coast Guard has offloaded a record amount of cocaine seized within 12 months of cocaine-chasing operations.

A total of 50,550 pounds (22.9 tons) of cocaine and heroin worth an estimated $679.3 million was offloaded Wednesday in San Diego at Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

Marking a record-breaking year in cocaine seizures for the service, this offload is the result of 25 separate seizures conducted by four Coast Guard cutters and a Navy ship since the first interdiction August 2.

This offload also marks more than 455,034 pounds of cocaine worth over $6.1 billion that has been intercepted by the Coast Guard in Fiscal Year 2017, besting the service’s previous record of 443,000 pounds set in FY16. The Coast Guard and its interagency partners are still compiling drug removal numbers for FY17 and will release a final total after October 1.

“By preventing overdoses and stopping new addictions before they start, enforcing our drug laws saves lives,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions who visited the crew of US Coast Guard cutter Sratton as they were offloading the coocaine. “This record-breaking year by our Coast Guard saw the arrest of more than 600 suspected drug traffickers and kept nearly half a million pounds of dangerous drugs from getting to our streets–and ultimately to our neighbors, friends and families. I commend every service member who has helped us in our mission to keep the American people safe, and I thank them for this indispensable contribution to public safety.”

The Coast Guard has delivered nearly 600 suspected smugglers to the Department of Justice for prosecution in the U.S. during Fiscal Year 2017.

According to the service, from 2002 to 2011, information obtained from suspects apprehended by the Coast Guard contributed to the arrest and extradition of more than 75 percent of drug kingpins.

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