Below is a fairly routine press release. I would not normally reproduce these, because there are other places where the information is already available, but this is a bit unusual, in that one of the busts was made by a Webber class WPC, USCGC Robert Ward (WPC-1130), the first Webber class to make a drug bust in the Eastern Pacific Drug Transit Zone. Apparently they are at it again.
She had seized 3,000 pounds of cocaine in mid-July, that was brought into San Diego by Steadfast (WMEC-623). At the end of August she returned to her homeport, San Pedro, bringing in another 2,800 pounds. Now she has taken another 1,500 pounds.
This is the new norm.
Incidentally, it is well over 3000 miles from San Pedro to the Transit Zone. Seventh District WPCs are actually a lot closer.
U.S. Coast Guard 11th District PA Detachment San Diego
Coast Guard offloads more than $92 million worth of cocaine in San Diego
Editors’ Note: Click on images and video above to download full-resolution version.
SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard offloaded more than $92 million worth of seized cocaine in San Diego Wednesday.
The cocaine, worth more than $92 million, was seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The contraband represents four suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions by the crews of three Coast Guard cutters off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America between late July and early October by the following Coast Guard cutters:
- Alert (WMEC-630) was responsible for two cases, seizing approximately 4,000 pounds of cocaine
- Robert Ward (WPC-1130) was responsible for one case, seizing approximately 1,500 pounds of cocaine
- Seneca (WMEC-906) was responsible for one case, seizing approximately 1,400 pounds of cocaine
Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security are involved in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with allied and international partner agencies play a role in counter-drug operations. The fight against transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions to prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys throughout the country.
“I am extremely proud of this crew for doing their part to keep these dangerous drugs off the streets,” said Cmdr. Tyson Scofield, Alert’s commanding officer. “The Eastern Pacific Ocean is a challenging environment, especially on a ship that is in her 50th year of service, yet this crew persevered to disrupt the illegal flow of narcotics that fuels instability in Central and South America. The counter-drug mission is as important now as it has ever been, and these brave men and women can return home after a 69-day patrol knowing they made a difference.”
The Coast Guard increased the U.S. and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America, as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy. During at-sea interdictions in international waters, a suspect vessel is initially located and tracked by allied, military or law enforcement personnel. The interdictions, including the actual boarding, are led and conducted by U.S. Coast Guardsmen. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District headquartered in Alameda.
The Alert is a 210-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Astoria, Oregon. The Robert Ward is a 154-foot fast-response cutter homeported in San Pedro. The Seneca is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Boston, Massachusetts.