Crews from the Coast Guard unloaded an estimated 11,500 pounds of cocaine confiscated in international waters during the last two months at San Diego.
The drugs, worth nearly $220 million if sold on the market, were recovered from four smuggling vessels apprehended off the shores of Mexico, Central America, and South America in April and May, according to the United States Coast Guard.
Coast Guard members pose aboard a semi-submersible vessel known as a "narco sub," which they halted as it traveled through international waters along known drug smuggling routes, according to images released by military officials. Another image showed a panga, a tiny fishing boat commonly used to smuggle persons and drugs into the United States, filled with bundles as a crew approached.
The interdictions resulted in the arrest of a dozen persons, according to officials. They'll be charged at the federal level.
The busts were constructed by the Coast Guard cutters Active, Steadfast, and Tahoma. The US Navy, Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, DEA, and ICE were among the agencies that assisted them.
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The narcotics busts were conducted out alongside "foreign partner agencies" in certain cases, according to the Coast Guard.
Smuggling in international waters was designated a crime against the United States by the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act of 1986, which meant that anyone caught transporting narcotics on the ocean might face penalties even if the contraband was not intended for the US.
The Coast Guard is in charge of tracking down prospective smugglers, apprehending them, and transporting them to the United States for prosecution. The drugs were confiscated by federal investigators after they were unloaded at a port in San Diego on Wednesday.
The Active is from Port Angeles, Washington, and is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter. The 210-foot medium endurance cutter Steadfast is located in Astoria, Oregon. The Tahoma is a medium endurance cutter that was commissioned in 1988 and is located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.