US Coast Guard offloads 21 tons of seized cocaine in California

The U.S. Coast Guard offloaded approximately 21 tons of cocaine seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean from the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche in San Diego, Monday.

An additional eight tons of contraband seized in the region was transferred ashore in Miami earlier in the day.

The drugs were interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean drug transit zone off the coast of Central and South America from February-May by the crews of U.S. Coast Guard cutters as well as those of U.S. and Canadian navy vessels with U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments aboard.

The San Diego haul represents 27 smuggling vessel interdictions and three bale recovery operations. Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk was responsible for 11 cases, seizing an estimated eight tons of cocaine. Waesche was responsible for eight cases, yielding some 2.5 tons while cutters Escanaba and Valiant nabbed 1,300 and 1,490 pounds, respectively.

The USS Lassen and an embarked Coast Guard LEDET is credited with five interdictions stopping about three tons of drugs. The Royal Canadian Navy ship HMCS Saskatoon and a Coast Guard LEDET recovered more than 2,700 pounds of cocaine in bales found adrift in the region. HMCS Edmonton and a LEDET stopped two smuggling vessels with some 2,200 pounds of contraband.

The eight tons offloaded in Miami represent the interdiction of 11 suspected smuggling vessels and one bale recovery operation.

Five tons were from five interdictions made by the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca. Three tons were from another seven interdictions by the USS Lassen and the embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.

U.S. Coast Guardsmen operating from Coast Guard cutters, U.S Navy ships and international partner nation ships seized more than 128,000 pounds of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific drug traffic zone so far in fiscal year 2016, the US Coast Guard said.

Waesche is a 418-foot National Security Cutter homeported in Alameda, California. Mohawk, Escanaba and Seneca are 270-foot medium-endurance cutters home ported in Key West and Boston respectively. Valiant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter from Mayport, Fla. Lassen is an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer also home ported in Mayport. Saskatoon and Edmonton are Kingston class coastal defense vessels based in Esquimalt, B.C.

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