News in Brief

Drive Sober Effort in Effect

Alameda Police Department (APD) and statewide law enforcement is ramping up their "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign" tomorrow to rid the street of alcohol- impaired drivers.

The campaign, which started on Aug. 17, will now deploy DUI driver's license checkpoints, multi-agency DUI Task Force operations and local roving DUI patrols throughout city from now until the end of Labor Day weekend.

In 2010 alone, 791 people died in California in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the legal alcohol limit.

The age group with the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes was the 21-to-24 age group. "On average there is one alcohol impaired driving-related fatality every 51 minutes across America.

But this tragic loss of life can be reduced if we get impaired drivers off our roadways," said APD Sgt. Ron Simmons. "Research has shown that high-visibility enforcement like the 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign reduces alcohol- impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. By joining this statewide effort, we will make Alameda's roadways safer for everyone throughout the Labor Day period."

According to APD, violators will face jail time, loss of their driver licenses, or being sentenced to use ignition interlocks.

This operation is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you see a drunk driver, APD would like you to call 9-1-1.

CG Cutter Seizes

Two Tons of Cocaine

The Alameda-based Cutter Morgenthau recently seized more than 4,000 pounds of cocaine from a go-fast boat and apprehended four suspects during a counternarcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific.

A maritime patrol aircraft flying above international waters off the coast of Panama spotted a speeding boat in the early morning hours of July 24.

Suspicious, the aircrew notified the cutter, which was patrolling nearby. As the Morgenthau neared the area and spotted the target, it deployed its onboard helicopter and two small boats to intercept the speeding boat. When the helicopter flew above the speeding boat, the vessel's crew began to throw bales of suspected contraband overboard.

Despite being ordered to stop by the Coast Guard, the go-fast boat crew continued. Morgenthau's embarked helicopter and flight crew from the Coast Guard's Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron based out of Jacksonville, Fla., provided the unique capability needed to quickly stop the go-fast boat before it could evade prosecution; the helicopter disabled the boat boat by firing a precision rifle at its outboard engines.

The Morgenthau's law enforcement crew then took custody of the suspects and recovered the floating bales which tested positive for cocaine. "These very large seizures at sea are the most effective way to keep cocaine off the streets of America," said Capt. Gregory Burg, commanding officer aboard the Morgenthau.

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