SEATTLE — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Adelie interdicted an estimated 2,900 pounds of marijuana and detained two people off the coast of Point Loma, California, Saturday.
The bust is the second interdiction of illegal drugs by Washington-based patrol boats within the last week. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Swordfish interdicted 24 kilograms of 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) near the San Juan Islands Thursday.
As part of a coordinated effort with the San Diego Regional Coordinating Mechanism, the crew of the Adelie, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Port Angeles, discovered bales of suspected marijuana during a routine boarding of the 43-foot sport-fishing vessel Pasa Tiempo.
The vessel and a total of 168 bales of contraband were seized, and the two people aboard the vessel were taken into custody.
The crew escorted the Pasa Tiempo to San Diego, where Coast Guard personnel and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Offices of Field Operations, Office of Air and Marine interdiction agents conducted an interagency boarding.
"The Coast Guard is the only U.S. agency with the broad authorities, capabilities, competencies, and partnerships here and abroad to interdict bulk loads of drugs offshore before reaching land," said Lt. Cmdr. Gregg Casad, deputy chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 13th District. "Our Port Angeles-based crews are having significant success disrupting criminal networks and eroding illicit drug trafficking far from home."
The Adelie is one of nine 87-foot patrol boats homeported in the Coast Guard 13th District. In the past year, crews of the Coast Guard cutters Sea Lion and Terrapin have also conducted counter-drug operations along the California coast.
Last September, the 12-person crew of the Terrapin interdicted nearly 2,000 pounds of marijuana during a 42-day Pacific patrol.
The Coast Guard is a multi-mission maritime service responsible for 11 statutory missions, including drug interdiction and law enforcement operations.