ALAMEDA (CBS SF) — The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday it has seized about 1,700 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of more than $29 million was seized in international waters off the coast of Costa Rica.
Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District based in Alameda, said the Coast Guard worked with Costa Rican authorities to stop a fishing boat suspected of smuggling narcotics last Thursday. The boat was spotted by a Coast Guard cutter’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) crew while on patrol, said Gautier.READ MORE: Volunteers Spread Out Across Bay Area for Annual Coastal Cleanup
“This interdiction is a great example of what we can accomplish with strong international partners,” said Gautier. Our Costa Rican partners played a major role in the success of this operation which will disrupt criminal networks in the region during this major surge.”
The fishing boat with four suspected smugglers had several false compartments throughout the vessel where the cocaine was hidden, the Coast Guard said.READ MORE: San Francisco Celebrates Rise of Lowrider Community With Car Show and Cruise
The four suspects were handed over to Costa Rican authorities for further legal actions.
On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs along with other U.S. agencies such as the Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.MORE NEWS: San Francisco Schools, Public Health Dept. Partner to Provide Campus COVID Vaccinations
The 11th Coast Guard District conducts the law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean with interdictions and boardings led by members of the Coast Guard.