U.S. Coast Guard seizes an estimated $569 million worth of drugs

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jul 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 10:20:47-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A U.S. Coast Guard crew turned over 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana in San Diego on Thursday.

The drugs are estimated to be work $569 million combined. They were seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro were welcomed back by Vice President Mike Pence, which the Coast Guard live streamed on Facebook.

The drugs represent 14 separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions and disruptions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by three Coast Guard cutters between May and July 2019, according to officials.

RELATED: VIDEO: US Coast Guard board moving narco-sub at sea carrying 16,000 pounds of cocaine

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) crew members aboard the cutter’s 35-foot Long Range Interceptor small boat supervising the intentional sinking of suspected drug-smuggling boats May 17, 2019, following the seizure of cocaine from the boats during an at-sea interdiction while Munro’s crew patrolled international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Due to the distance from land, inadequate tow points and flooding in the engine rooms of the boats, the boats were sunk as a hazard to navigation. U.S. Coast Guard photo

"The fight against drug cartels 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 said in a press release.

The Coast Guard says increased U.S. and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin are part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy. They say those areas are known drug transit zones.

The engine housings of a go-fast boat has bullet holes June 25, 2019, in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. A Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron precision marksman used disabling-gunfire to stop the boat during a Coast Guard interdiction. During at-sea interdictions in international waters, a suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida, and the interdictions including the boardings are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo