The United States Coast Guard has seized 26,000 pounds of cocaine during several drug busts conducted in the eastern Pacific Ocean, with the total haul worth $350 million.
One of these operations involved a high-speed chase at sea with suspected drug smugglers, with the incident captured on camera.
Footage taken on July 18 shows suspected drug smugglers chucking containers of cocaine over the side of their speeding boat as the Coast Guard gave chase. During this particular haul, the Coast Guard seized around 2,300 pounds of cocaine.
The total amount of seized cocaine came from six suspected drug smuggling vessel operations, as well as the discovery of floating cocaine bales in June and July. The contraband was unloaded by the Coast Guard on Friday, July 28.
According to a United States Coast Guard press release, Coast Guard district commander Rear Admiral Peter Gautier said:
This was 26,000 pounds of cocaine that will not make it to the main streets of the USA, and it also gives us the opportunity to make sure that we can continue to combat transnational criminal organizations that transport this cocaine deep in the Pacific every single day,
Because we know that with a supply chain of illegal narcotics, at every single step there’s violence, instability and despair.
Five of the drug busts were conducted by the Steadfast’s crew members. Commissioned in 1968, the Steadfast is one of the Coast Guard’s oldest cutters.
The Steadfast’s commanding officer, Commander Dan Ursino, has since praised his crew for their hard work and dedication:
There are few closer relationships than those among the members of a ship’s crew performing a dangerous, important mission,
Steadfast’s crew has worked as a remarkable, dedicated team with a strong common goal – protecting their nation from the deadly, destructive effects of illegal drugs.
I’m very proud of each and every one of them, and commend them for their hard work and dedication to keep themselves and their ship prepared for this vital work.
Something that makes their achievement even more impressive, is that before leaving homeport on June 13th, nearly a third of this crew had never sailed before on Steadfast – a true testament to the emphasis we put on standards and training.
As part of their Western Hemisphere Strategy, the Coast Guard has recently increased US presence in both the eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, areas regarded to be drug transit zones off of Central and South America.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.