Coast Guard Scores Major Victory Against Cartels Flooding U.S. With Cocaine

REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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A U.S. Coast Guard cutter returned to port in San Diego Tuesday with $78 million in cocaine seized from international drug cartels.

The 53-year-old cutter Active was conducting patrols off the coast of Central America between May 18 and May 19 as part of a region-wide interdiction effort. The crew of Active seized a total of 5,271 pounds of narcotics from smugglers over the two-day period, reported The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The drugs were being ferried on three smaller vessels and a pleasure craft. Officials with the U.S Coast Guard arrested 11 traffickers found aboard the vessels. (RELATED: Fentanyl Is Behind More Than One Third Of Cocaine Overdose Deaths In NYC)

“The crew of Active should be proud of all they’ve accomplished to combat dangerous transnational criminal organizations that spread violence and instability throughout the Western Hemisphere,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to make progress in the fight against international drug traffickers. Several cutters with the U.S. Coast Guard returned to port in Florida May 10 after seizing roughly six tons of cocaine from Central and South American traffickers, carrying an estimated street value of between $300 and $627 million.

The Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast returned to port in Oregon in January with roughly 12,000 pounds of cocaine seized from cartels and transnational crime groups in the Eastern Pacific. The crew was conducting a 50-day counter-drug patrol in the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico and Central America.

The U.S. Coast Guard previously seized nearly 16 tons of cocaine during a series of drug busts in the Pacific Ocean, targeting smuggling routes over a 26-day period in March 2017. Officials called it one of the largest seizures of cartel narcotics in history.

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.

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