Officials Offload Half a Billion Dollars’ Worth of Cocaine in San Diego: Coast Guard

Authorities in San Diego offloaded 36,000 pounds of cocaine—about half a billion dollars’ worth—that were seized off the coasts of Central and South America, the Coast Guard announced Tuesday.

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) stands by approximately 36,000 pounds of cocaine on the cutter's flight deck before offloading the drugs at the B Street Pier in San Diego on March 20, 2018. (Credit:  Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Wilson/U.S. Coast Guard District 11)

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) stands by approximately 36,000 pounds of cocaine on the cutter’s flight deck before offloading the drugs at the B Street Pier in San Diego on March 20, 2018. (Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Wilson/U.S. Coast Guard District 11)

Five different Coast Guard cutters confiscated 17 cases of cocaine from suspected smuggling vessels in the international waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean in February and March, the agency said.

Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk said the Coast Guard has taken possession of record amounts of cocaine for the third year in a row.

“These crews worked around-the-clock to seize this load of contraband that denies traffickers about half a billion dollars’ worth of illicit proceeds that would have gone to fund the nefarious work of transnational criminal organizations, helps prevent a great deal of human suffering and will likely save hundreds of lives that would have been lost to these illegal drugs,” Capt. John Driscoll said.

The Coast Guard said its crews work  with the departments of Homeland Security, Defense and Justice, as well as international agencies and allies, in efforts against transnational organized crime.