A Coast Guard cutter returned from a highly successful series of drug busts Thursday. Tons of cocaine, worth almost a billion dollars, have been recovered from drug smugglers in the Pacific Ocean over the current fiscal year, ending on September 30.
Though it may be unrelated, this record cocaine seizure comes less than a week after the Inquisitr reported on pop singer Rihanna having allegedly been caught doing the drug on camera. The singer blasted reports on Instagram by saying that she was having a joint (marijuana cigarette) in that video.
After 79 days off the coast of Central and South America, the ship returned to the San Diego port carrying 14,000 pounds of the illegal substance. The seizures were accomplished by a combination of U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Navy ships. This mirrors what the fleets have been able to recover in the past six months — 28 tons so far. The Los Angeles Times claims that drug seizures are currently the highest they’ve been since 2009.
Coast Guard Vice Admiral Charles Michel bragged about the success of seizures during the news conference, where the cocaine was being unloaded from the Coast Guard cutter like a backdrop.
“It takes a network to defeat a network. … [The amount of personnel] serving on the frontlines in the drug transit zones have been increased sharply.”
Michel explained that the forces used to accomplish this seizure were only acting on 20 percent of what they know about, but it was all they could do with their “actionable intelligence due to resource constraints.”
The drugs being taken off the ship via a conveyor belt and crane accounted for around $424 million, taken from 19 separate drug seizures. Over 100 smugglers have been apprehended this fiscal year.
Coast Guard boat arrives in San Diego with more than 14 tons of cocaine seized at sea: http://t.co/TviZrXgiqe
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 17, 2015
However, with what Michel said, we can assume that a majority of the drug operations currently known are still in business if this year’s seizures only account for a fifth of the total.
The Coast Guard cutter Boutwell used in the combined drug seizures is a 50-year-old ship, which has potentially paid for itself several times over in the amount of drugs it has been used to confiscate. Its potential could be so much more though, according to Michel.
It is currently unknown what will be done with the drugs taken, but we can rest assured that less of them are in circulation thanks to the actions involved with this Coast Guard cutter.
[Image via Joseph Ebalo / Wikimedia Commons]