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Coast Guard, Navy offload $211 million in drugs from seizures in international waters

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Posted at 10:27 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 10:47:25-05

SAN DIEGO (KTNV) — Coast Guard and Navy personnel offloaded approximately 11,400 pounds of cocaine and 9,000 pounds of marijuana Monday, amounting to more than $211 million from seizures in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The offload is the result of interdictions made by Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 407 (LEDET) personnel, who operated aboard the USS Gabrielle Giffords, and three separate Coast Guard cutter crews between October and December.

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“When you are covering a drug-smuggling transit zone the size of the continental United States, every ship makes a huge difference,” said Lt. Jonathan Dietrich. “The seamless integration between our Law Enforcement Detachment and the crew of the USS Gabrielle Giffords was a major reason why we were successful in interdicting such a large amount of drugs and prevent them from reaching our streets.”

The total amount of drugs offloaded included the following unit and Coast Guard ships:

  • LEDET 407 was responsible for five cases seizing 10,570 pounds of cocaine and 4,100 pounds of marijuana
  • The Seneca (WMEC-906) was responsible for one case seizing 350 pounds of cocaine
  • The Legare (WMEC-912) was responsible for one case seizing 53 pounds of cocaine and 3,400 pounds of marijuana
  • The Spencer (WMEC-905) was responsible for one case seizing 420 pounds of cocaine and 1,450 pounds of marijuana

"The impressive results of the USS Gabrielle Giffords deployment and drug offload represent more than just a local victory of keeping drugs off our streets," said Rear Admiral Brian Penoyer. "The Coast Guard and the Navy have worked together for years to keep our waters and shores safe from a number of maritime threats, and we are honored to continue that tradition as we look toward the future."

The Coast Guard says its narcotics interdiction efforts are aimed at thwarting transnational criminal organizations, which are fueled by drug trafficking money. Operations like these attack supply networks in Central and South America. The offload highlights the joint impacts that a Coast Guard unit along with the Navy can have when working together.