SAN DIEGO–More than 11 tons of cocaine seized in international waters off the Eastern Pacific Ocean from late August to mid-September was offloaded by the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton Wednesday in San Diego.
The drugs were seized during the interdiction of eight suspected smuggling vessels found off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by the Coast Guard cutters Stratton (WMSL-752), Seneca (WMEC-906) and Active (WMEC-618).
The Stratton was responsible for six cases, seizing an estimated 7,472 kilograms of cocaine, The Seneca seized one case, an estimated 1,340 kilograms of cocaine, and the Active seized one case, an estimated 1,200 kilograms of cocaine.
“This offload reflects the outstanding efforts of the Coast Guard and our partner agencies to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations,” said Capt. Craig Wieschhorster, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton. “These interdiction results take hundreds of millions of dollars away from these criminal networks that work to undermine the rule of law in South and Central America which increases migration pressures on the U.S. southern border. Keeping this product off the streets of America saves lives, and I am very proud of the efforts of my crew.”
The Stratton is a 418-foot national security cutter homeported in Alameda. The Seneca is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Boston, Massachusetts. The Active is also a 210-foot medium endurance cutter and is homeported in Port Angeles, Washington.
Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with allied and international partner agencies played a role in counter-drug operations.
The fight against transnational criminal organizations in the Eastern Pacific requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys in districts across the nation.
The Coast Guard increased U.S. and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America, as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy.