U.S. Coast Guard touts record-setting drug busts
The offloading of tons of cocaine, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, was used as a backdrop to announce record-setting drug busts in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Navy gathered on a San Diego dock Thursday, as the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell unloaded more than 14 tons of cocaine. The drugs, with an estimated street value of $424 million, were taken in 19 separate seizures in drug transit zones near Central and South America.
Video from the Coast Guard shows bundles of the drugs being taken off the ship by a crane and a conveyor belt.
The Coast Guard says the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, is already the most successful since 2009 for drug seizures. The total amount of cocaine taken for the fiscal year so far is reported to be 28 tons, worth more than $848 million. Authorities say 101 smugglers have also been apprehended.
The Coast Guard says in one incident, more than 10 tons of cocaine were confiscated from a single coastal freighter in what is called the largest maritime drug interdiction in the eastern Pacific Ocean since 2009.
By Andreas Preuss
CNN’s Tina Burnside contributed to this report.