ALAMEDA (CBS SF) — An Alameda-based Coast Guard crew has seized approximately 1,395 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $24 million from a go-fast vessel in international waters of the Pacific Ocean off Central America.
The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf has been patrol in the region for several months as part of the fight against South American drug cartels.
Late last month, a maritime patrol aircraft spotted a suspected smuggling vessel and diverted the Cutter to the go-fast vessel’s position.
Once on scene, Bertholf’s crew launched a surveillance drone to locate the suspected smugglers. After the suspected smugglers complied with orders to stop their boat, the crew boarded the vessel and discovered approximately 1,395 pounds of cocaine. Three suspected smugglers aboard the vessel were also detained.
The operation was a joint effort by The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with international partner agencies to halt the transporation of drugs into the United States.