USCG announces record drug seizures - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

USCG announces record drug seizures

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The Coast Guard has announced a record breaking year, in terms of the amount of drugs seized in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

When it comes to the war on drugs in our open waters, records indicate it's been one of the most successful years in recent history.

Over the past ten months, U.S. and allied officials operating in the eastern Pacific Ocean have seized more drugs than they did in fiscal years 2012, 2013 and 2014 combined.

Coast Guardsmen operating from cutters, U.S. navy ships and international partner nation ships confiscated 119,000 pounds of cocaine worth over $1.8 billion wholesale.

"And you can rest assured that we're gonna keep at it, and we're going to do everything we can to prevent you from making our oceans into your personal freeways." U.S. Attorney, Laura Duffey said.

In April of this year, in the midst of this operation, when a coast guard ship returned to its San Diego homeport with 28,000 pounds of cocaine.

That load was the result of 19 separate busts by U.S. and Canadian forces near central and South America.

Our camera was allowed on ship to capture images of the drugs, which were later turned over to the D.E.A.

While the numbers have increased, these types of seizures are nothing new for U.S. officials.

In October of last year, we covered another news conference which highlighted a-three-month long operation resulting in another 28,000 pounds of cocaine being seized.

"Through operation Mateo, we were able to save these drugs closer to the country of origin and therefore we intercept more of them and it's a higher purity and we stop the chain of events before it gets started," Vice Admiral Charles Ray said.

The drug seizures don't come without arrests.

Over the last 10 months, 215 suspected smugglers were apprehended.

These types of operations are crucial because illegal drug networks are dangerous breeding grounds for all types of trafficking fueling violence and instability, officials said.

Coast Guard drug interdiction accounts for nearly 52 percent of all U.S. government seizures of cocaine each year.

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