Bertholf Seizes Drugs
The crew of a local Coast Guard Cutter returned home to Alameda Friday after seizing $329 million in cocaine during a successful 95-day counter narcotics deployment.
The 126-person Alameda-based crew of Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf interdicted nine smuggling vessels, detained 22 suspected narcotraffickers and seized more than 20,000 pounds of illegal narcotics while deployed in the Eastern Pacific.
The cutter’s success for the patrol was highlighted by the seizure of a self-propelled semisubmersible smuggling vessel (SPSS) carrying more than $200 million of narcotics. This was the second SPSS Bertholf crewmembers have seized in the last year, and the sixth SPSS interdicted by the Coast Guard since early 2015.
Bertholf’s crew partnered with other Coast Guard and Navy assets in the area, as well as maritime patrol aircraft from a number of partner agencies to locate and intercept suspicious vessels.
Prior to returning to Alameda, the cutter docked in San Diego to transfer 14 tons of seized narcotics to the Drug Enforcement Administration for disposal. This total was the result of a number of interdictions made by several Coast Guard cutters as well as a Coast Guard law enforcement team embarked on a U.S. Navy ship, in addition to the drugs seized by Bertholf’s crew.
Bertholf was deployed to support Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S), counter narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific. JIATF-S coordinates the detection and monitoring of illegal trafficking using Coast Guard and Department of Defense assets, as well as those from other agencies and partner nations. All interdictions are carried out by Coast Guard personnel under the authority of the 11th Coast Guard district, headquartered in Alameda.