The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche offloaded about 18,219 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $239 million, in November in San Diego.
The offload is a result of six separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America by the Coast Guard Cutters Waesche and Active.
The biggest of the six interdictions was the most recent, occurring Nov. 20, which was an interdiction of a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) carrying more than 5,500 pounds of cocaine. The interdiction of the SPSS was the first in the Eastern Pacific since 2020.
“All four of our interdictions on this patrol are crucial to the Coast Guard’s efforts to keep illicit drugs off the streets, but our last interdiction of a semi-submersible vessel was noteworthy since it was the first semi-submersible interdicted in the Eastern Pacific in over three years,” said Capt. Robert Mohr, commanding officer of the Waesche. “I am extremely impressed with the crew’s dedication throughout this dynamic patrol. They overcame multiple challenges with collective hard work, ingenuity, and positive attitudes to keep us in pursuit of these cartels and their dangerous drugs. A successful patrol like this one is rewarding and leads to better retention and recruiting efforts because everybody feels a sense of accomplishment.”
Multiple U.S. agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, collaborate in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, all play a role in counternarcotic operations. The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases, from detection and monitoring to interdictions and criminal prosecutions.
“The significance of keeping this much cocaine from reaching our shores and streets is, no doubt, life changing. Without these nine tons of cocaine on American streets, fewer people will have access to this toxic poison, and hundreds of millions of dollars will not make it into cartel coffers,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath. “The crew of the Waesche and the entire U.S. Coast Guard is to be commended for protecting our nation from the devastation, violence and addiction that cocaine brings to our communities.”