$350 million of cocaine seized off Pacific coast

SEATTLE – Over 26,000 pounds of cocaine with a street value around $350 million was seized during an operation conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The crew of the Oregon-based cutter USS Steadfast patrolled the Pacific coast for nearly two months and intercepted five suspected smuggling vessels.

During one instance, video from a Coast Guard helicopter shows a dramatic pursuit with smugglers dumping bales of drugs into the ocean while attempting to flee.

The cocaine was offloaded in San Diego last Friday for disposal, and the maritime branch says it was the largest amount of narcotics seized by a vessel of its size in one operation.

“This was 26,000 pounds of cocaine that will not make it to the main streets of the USA,” Rear Adm. Peter Gautier said. “It also gives us the opportunity to make sure we can continue to combat transnational criminal organizations who transport this cocaine deep in the Pacific every single day.”

The Steadfast will return its homeport in Astoria, Oregon Tuesday.