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Coast Guard unloads 21 tons of cocaine

By DAVID HERNANDEZ | The San Diego Union-Tribune (Tribune News Service) | Published: June 14, 2016

SAN DIEGO (Tribune News Service) — Roughly 21 tons of cocaine seized off the coast of Central and South America were unloaded in San Diego Monday, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

The drugs, weighing the equivalent of about 42,000 pounds, were intercepted by Coast Guard and Navy vessels during 30 operations at sea between February and May. The bundles were unloaded from from the 418-foot-long cutter Waesche.

Another 8 tons, or about 16,000 pounds, of cocaine seized in 12 other operations were transferred and unloaded in Miami on Monday, officials said.

"I'm extremely proud of all the crews at sea, in the air and ashore who helped plan, coordinate and perform these drug busts," said Rear Adm. Joseph Servidio, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District. "Their hard work denies the drug-trafficking organizations millions of dollars in resources and helps save lives by keeping these drugs off our streets."

Since October, Coast Guard and Navy forces have seized more than 128,000 pounds of cocaine in drug trafficking off the coast of Central and South America.

Officials said the Coast Guard has increased its presence off the coast of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean waters, as part of a strategy to target known drug smuggling zones.
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Coast Guard cutter Waesche is seen in this undated photo. About 21 tons of cocaine seized off the coast of Central and South America were unloaded from the Waesche in San Diego Monday, June 13, 2016.
COURTESY OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD

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