ALAMEDA (KRON) – Nine suspected drug traffickers are in custody after Alameda-based Coast Guard units intercepted three separate vessels between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1.
Coast Guard cutters Munro and Bertholf were responsible for the busts.
In total, over 9,000 pounds of cocaine was seized, estimated to be worth $156 million.
The first operation on Jan. 26 netted 1,300 pounds of cocaine off of a fishing vehicle, while a bust just a few hours later secured 3,439 pounds of the drug from a vessel purposely built for smuggling.
“Having back-to-back cases lasting 31 hours pushed our limits, but our crew took on the challenge,” said Capt. Blake Novak. “Cartels are cunning and sophisticated, and this is a dynamic environment, which required interagency and international coordination which yielded results.”
Another third “low-profile” vessel was intercepted on Feb. 1 with more than 4,380 pounds of cocaine on board.
Cartels design low-profile vessels that ride low in the water to specifically evade law enforcement. The low-profile makes them difficult to detect in the open ocean.
Since April of last year, the Coast Guard has increased patrols in the Eastern Pacific area.