The regional US Coast Guard is tooting its own horn after busting three separate smuggling vessels carrying an estimated $156 million in cocaine.
Thar she blows, indeed. KRON4 brings us the news that three separate cocaine smuggling busts by the US Coast Guard unit housed in Alameda netted more than 9,000 pounds of cocaine in a recent eight-day span. KPIX adds that these busts off the California coast confiscated an estimated $156 million worth of the nose candy.
These fisherman were hauling more than ‘today’s catch.’ U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro crews patrolling the Eastern...Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area on Wednesday, February 17, 2021
The first bust is detailed in the Facebook post above, with the cheeky lead-in line “These fisherman were hauling more than ‘today’s catch.’” The Coast Guard cutter (boat) Munro, which is home-ported in Alameda, “boarded a fishing vessel Jan. 26 suspected of smuggling illicit narcotics. Exercising a bilateral agreement with a partner nation, the boarding teams searched and discovered 1,300 pounds of cocaine concealed within the vessel” according to a Coast Guard release.
This all happened in the "Eastern Pacific," and was actually probably quite far from the Bay Area — like this December 2019 bust by an Alameda-based Coast Guard near San Diego.
Here’s what that 1,300 pounds of cocaine looked like. And a few hours later, the exact same crew boarded a “suspicious vessel” carrying another 3,500 pounds of cocaine.
"Having back-to-back cases lasting 31 hours pushed our limits, but our crew took on the challenge," the Munro’s commanding officer Capt. Blake Novak said in the release. "Cartels are cunning and sophisticated, and this is a dynamic environment, which required interagency and international coordination which yielded results. I am proud of our crew, but these successes would not be possible without our Central and South American partnerships."
Eight days later, a separate crew on another boat called the Bertholf popped what they call a “low-profile vessel” carrying a whopping 4,400 pounds of cocaine. According to the Coast Guard, “Cartels design low-profile vessels specifically to evade law enforcement by being difficult to detect.”
All told, nine suspects are in custody. The Coast Guard has not released the names of the suspects.