San Diego, CA
Tens of thousands of pounds of cocaine came into San Diego Tuesday morning after the U.S. Coast Guard made a huge bust.
The cocaine was retrieved in the middle of the ocean. There were 36,000 pounds that was transported to San Diego.
The Coast Guard said it seized the drugs off the coast of Central and South America.
Service members aboard the USCGC Bertholf worked to intercept the drugs before they reached the U.S.
The Coast Guard added all of the cocaine was found during a one month period of counter-drug patrols that ended earlier this month.
The operation successfully haulted 17 suspected smuggling vessels by five Coast Guard cutters from early February to early March.
“This offload by the Bertholf represents the great work being conducted in the Eastern Pacific combating the transnational organized crime groups, behind the drug trade which spread instability, fear and harm to people, communities and entire nations,” said Rear Adm. Todd Sokalzuk, the 11th Coast Guard District commander.
The drugs will be offloaded at the B Street pier late Tuesday morning.
The cocaine is valued at more than half a billion dollars.
"We’re seizing record amounts of cocaine for the third year in a row," added Rear Adm. Soklazuk.
The Coast Guard said the operation is part of a new Western Hemisphere Strategy implemented in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean regions. These areas are known drug-transit zones for Central and South America.
Service members track and locate suspect vessels then board them.
The Department of Homeland Security as well as the Defense and Justice Department helped in the efforts.