Coast Guard offloads 25 tons of cocaine seized in Eastern Pacific drug transit zone

SAN DIEGO —The U.S. Coast Guard offloaded more than 25 tons of cocaine seized in the Eastern Pacific Ocean drug transit zone off the coast of Central and South America on Nov. 19.

The contraband, hauled from the decks of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter (USCGC) Bertholf at the Port of San Diego Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, was seized in 24 vessel interdictions and two bale recoveries between late July and early November by five Coast Guard cutters and one Canadian Navy vessel with a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement team aboard. The load is valued at more than $765-million.

Of the busts represented by the offload, Bertholf, was responsible for 11. The largest being some 7.5 tons discovered aboard a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) intercepted Aug. 31. The other interdictions ranged from approximately 300 to 2,000 pounds, from 23 “go-fast” panga boats and two bale recoveries, by four other USCGCs and one Royal Canadian Navy ship: USCGC Valiant which was responsible for five, USCGC Seneca, four; USCGC Active, three; USCGC Thetis, two; and HMCS Brandon with an embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, one.

U.S. Coast Guardsmen operating from cutters, U.S. Navy ships and international partner nation ships seized more than 158,000 pounds of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific drug traffic zone in fiscal year 2015 — more than the totals in 2012, 2013 and 2014 combined.

Bertholf is a 418-foot national security cutter home-ported in Alameda, Calif.

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