Coast Guard intercepts drug boats in Pacific; seizes cocaine worth $300 million

The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration have been working together to crack down on drug smugglers in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

This week, the agencies announced one of the largest-ever drug seizures: some 18,000 pounds of cocaine, worth more than $300 million.

The Coast Guard unloaded the haul from the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf at the Port of San Diego on Wednesday. Coast Guard officials praised the hard work of crews who risked their lives to stop the smugglers.


"This is hard, dangerous work for these crews to actually gain access and control of those vessels," Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, the commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area, said at a press conference.

Crews from five Coast Guard cutters—Northland, James, Harriet Lane, Thetis, and Bertholf—interrupted seven separate drug shipments between mid-October and early December. The Coast Guard released videos of some of the busts.

One video shows crews taking control of what they call a "low-profile, go-fast" vessel and finding the drugs inside on Nov. 4.

Another video shows crews seizing a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel, also known as a narco-submarine, on Oct. 24. (Story continues below)

>WATCH Narco-submarine interception video showcases the Coast Guard's role in the global drug war


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These operations are part of a broader effort in Southern California to fight back against powerful drug cartels.

"Cocaine that if it was not seized would help fill the drug dealers' laundered bank accounts and endanger American lives," U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer Jr. said at the news conference.

Federal authorities are investigated the captured smugglers for ties to the cartels.