AG: Record-Breaking Drug Seizures in San Diego (Learn More, Video)

USCG commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft. (Image Courtesy of The US Coast Guard)
Coast Guardsmen offloaded over 50,550 lbs of cocaine Wednesday. Attorney General Jeff Sessions & Coast Guard officials announced 455,034-pound record drug removal for the Coast Guard in fiscal year 2017, setting a new cocaine seizure record for the service. USCG Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft. (Image Courtesy of The US Coast Guard)

The United States Coast Guard offloaded 50,550 pounds of cocaine and heroin worth an estimated $679.3 million Wednesday at 9 a.m. at Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, which marks a record-breaking year in cocaine seizures for the service.

This offload represents the results from 25 separate seizures conducted by four Coast Guard cutters and a Navy ship since the first interdiction Aug. 2.

This offload marks more than 455,034 pounds of cocaine worth over $6.1 billion that has been intercepted by the Coast Guard in Fiscal Year 2017, besting the service’s previous record of 443,000 pounds set in FY16.

The Coast Guard and its interagency partners are still compiling drug removal numbers for FY17 and will release a final total after Oct. 1.

(The U.S. Coast Guard apprehended three drug smuggling suspects and seized more than 700 pounds of cocaine from a vessel several hundred miles southwest of Acapulco, Mexico, on Sept. 6, 2017. (Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard District 11 via The Washington Post)

“By preventing overdoses and stopping new addictions before they start, enforcing our drug laws saves lives,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

“This record-breaking year by our Coast Guard saw the arrest of more than 600 suspected drug traffickers and kept nearly half a million pounds of dangerous drugs from getting to our streets–and ultimately to our neighbors, friends and families.”

“I commend every service member who has helped us in our mission to keep the American people safe, and I thank them for this indispensable contribution to public safety.”

The Coast Guard has delivered nearly 600 suspected smugglers to the Department of Justice for prosecution in the U.S. during Fiscal Year 2017.

From 2002 to 2011, information obtained from suspects apprehended by the Coast Guard contributed to the arrest and extradition of more than 75 percent of drug kingpins.

The Coast Guard has seized over 455,000 pounds of cocaine to date in FY17, which ends on September 30, representing a record high for the second consecutive year.

See below for a view of prior years by pounds confiscated.

Coast Guard Cocaine Seizures FY17
(*This number may rise resulting from additional seizures made through the end of the FY17. Courtesy of US Coast Guard and The Washington Post)

“These drugs represent the scale of the threat transnational organized crime poses to our nation and to all peaceful nations of the Western Hemisphere,” said Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the Coast Guard.

“The Coast Guard and Justice Department, along with interagency partners, are determined to commit our efforts to detect, interdict, investigate and prosecute the entirety of these criminal networks and end the drug fueled instability and violence in the region.”

This offload represents seizures conducted by the follow crews:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Stratton, homeported in Alameda
  • Coast Guard Cutter James, homeported in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Coast Guard Cutter Dependable, homeported in Virgina Beach, Virginia
  • Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast, homeported in Astoria, Oregon
  • USS Chafee, homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

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