SAN DIEGO — More than 13 tons of cocaine seized in international water of the eastern Pacific Ocean from late June to mid-July was offloaded in San Diego Friday by the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast.
The drugs, worth an estimated $350 million, were seized from six suspected smuggling vessels and two floating cocaine bales found off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by the Coast Guard cutters Robert Ward and Steadfast, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard.
The suspects managed to dump out drugs worth more than an estimated $10 million before Guardsmen caught up with them.
The bundles represent a changing tide in the flow of drugs as cartels shift smuggling routes from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean.
"During at-sea interdictions in international waters, a suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida," according to the statement.
In fiscal year 2019, the Coast Guard seized more than 230,000 pounds of cocaine from over 100 suspected smuggling vessels and detained more than 400 suspected smugglers in the drug transit zones of the eastern Pacific Ocean, according to the statement.
The Steadfast is homeported in Astoria, Oregon, and the Robert Ward, which was commissioned in March, is homeported in San Pedro.