Cocaine smugglers thwarted by San Diego Coast Guard - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Cocaine smugglers thwarted by San Diego Coast Guard

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A San Diego-based U.S. Coast Guard contingent, along with the crew of a San Diego-based warship, intercepted a fishing vessel carrying about 630 pounds of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the Coast Guard announced Wednesday.

The Coast Guard detachment and the guided missile frigate USS Curts were each on routine patrol when they stopped the cocaine smugglers in international waters off the coast of Ecuador on Oct. 6, according to a U.S. Coast Guard statement.

After spotting the Americans, the crew of the fishing vessel boarded panga boats that were tied to the larger vessel and began dropping bales into the ocean. Boats carrying both Navy and Coast Guard personnel were deployed and the bales were scooped up and the 16 suspected smugglers arrested, according to the Coast Guard.

The agency estimated the confiscated cocaine had a street worth of $7 million.

"This is an example of how multiple government agencies come together to counter the drug threat against the citizens of the United States," said Lt. Max Seda, operations officer of the Coast Guard Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team.

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