Cocaine worth roughly $220 million seized during separate smuggling attempts in international waters this year was offloaded Wednesday in San Diego.
About 11,500 pounds of cocaine that was seized waters from waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean during April and May was offloaded by the crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Active (WMEC 618), the U.S. Coast Guard announced.
The drugs were seized off the coasts of Mexico, South and Central America.
“We were just here not two months ago with another drug offload," said Rear Adm. Brian Penoyer, Commander of the 11th US Coast Guard District in a press conference Wednesday morning. "This drumbeat does not let up. The narcotics, traffickers are not taking time off and the demand signal is 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Active intercepted drug smugglers twice and seized about 5,600 pounds of cocaine, USCGC Steadfast (WMEC 623) intercepted smugglers once and seized roughly 2,470 pounds of cocaine, and USCGC Tahoma (WMEC 908) intercepted once and seized about 3,660 pounds of cocaine, officials said.
Multiple U.S. agencies like Homeland Security and the Departments of Defense and Justice cooperated in the operations. Navy personnel, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI also played a role.
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A total of 12 people were taken into custody in connection to the drug bust, officials announced. They are expected to make their first court appearance in San Diego in the coming days, then be transferred to Virginia to have the rest of their cases reviewed there.