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One billion dollars in cocaine seized by one US ship

/ 08:58 AM August 11, 2015
In this July 19, 2015 photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Cutter Stratton crew members secure cocaine bales from a self-propelled semi-submersible interdicted in international waters off the coast of Central America. The Coast Guard recovered more than 6 tons of cocaine from the 40-foot vessel. Cocaine seizures by the U.S. Coast Guard off Latin America have jumped to their highest levels in five years. Officials say Monday, Aug. 10, 2015, drug traffickers are increasingly turning to the sea to get their loads to U.S. markets. The $1.8 billion in seized cocaine comes after Washington restored the Coast Guard budget to its previous levels, following a 25 percent cut in operating costs in 2013. (Petty Officer 2nd Class LaNola Stone/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

In this July 19, 2015 photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Cutter Stratton crew members secure cocaine bales from a self-propelled semi-submersible interdicted in international waters off the coast of Central America.  AP

LOS ANGELES, United States – A single US Coast Guard ship has recovered cocaine worth more than one billion dollars in under a year, authorities said Monday.

The Stratton confiscated an impressive 29.9 tons of the drug in 10 months, from October 2012 through September 30, 2014, off Latin American coasts in the eastern Pacific, the coast guard reported.

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“This is about more than just trying to keep drugs off US streets,” said Coast Guard Commander Paul Zukunft.

“The cultivation, trafficking and distribution of narcotics fuels violence and instability throughout the Western Hemisphere, leaving a path of destruction directly to the door step of the US,” he added.

“We must continue to make progress in our effort to combat transnational organized crime networks to ensure safety and security in our hemisphere.”

The cocaine — from 23 interdiction operations — is equal to about 33 million lines of cocaine or 336 million hits of crack, DEA estimates say.

Meanwhile Mexico, next door to the lucrative US market, is enduring a nightmare of drug-related violence that has left more than 100,000 people dead and 22,000 missing since 2006, when the government deployed the military to fight the country’s powerful drug cartels.

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TAGS: Cocaine, drug smuggling, Drugs, Stratton, US Coast Guard
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