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Two Coast Guard Cutters Seize More Than $150 Million in Drugs
Feb 20, 2021
by Rick Hurd
U.S. Coast Guard crews aboard two cutter boats intercepted three different ships earlier this year and seized more than 9,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $156 million, the agency recently said.
The drugs were seized between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1 in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, according to a statement from the agency. The crews were aboard the Coast Guard cutters Munro and Bertholf, both of which are based in Alameda.
Nine people were arrested during the seizures, all of them suspected of drug trafficking, the Coast Guard said. None were identified.
According to the Coast Guard, the Munro crew boarded a fishing boat on Jan. 26, and exercised a "bilateral agreement with a partner nation" to search the ship. Crews found 1,300 pounds of cocaine aboard that boat, the agency said.
The Coast Guard did not identify the partner nation.
Hours later, a patrol aircraft discovered another boat that appeared suspicious and directed the Munro to it. The Coast Guard said crews went aboard that ship and discovered 3,439 pounds of cocaine.
"Having back-to-back cases lasting 31 hours pushed our limits, but our crew took on the challenge," Capt. Blake Novak, the Munro's commanding officer, said.
On Feb. 1, crews from the Bertholf intercepted another boat and seized more than 4,380 pounds of cocaine, the Coast Guard said.
The seizures were part of the fight by authorities against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean.
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Photo caption: A Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) boarding team member sits atop a low-profile vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The teams discovered nearly 3,500 pounds of cocaine aboard the purpose-built drug smuggling vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard)
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