Coast Guard cutter behind massive cocaine bust returns home to Alameda

- Family and friends celebrated the return of the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche on Monday as it docked in Alameda, after a nearly two month-long deployment during which the crew seized more than 17,000 pounds of cocaine in the waters off Central America.

The drugs carried a street value of more than $260 million.

The crew also arrested 20 suspected narcotics traffickers. 

The Cutter Waesche's most recent seizure was on June 8, when the crew intercepted a 55-foot boat with some 5,500 pounds of cocaine onboard, according to the Coast Guard.

The drugs were discovered on a so-called Low Profile Vessel.  LPVs are designed and colored to blend in with the ocean, making them difficult for law enforcement to detect.

A Coast Guard photo last week showed that banner seizure along with another $288 million in cocaine seized by other Coast Guard cutters, as the drugs were being prepared to be off-loaded in San Diego.

The seizures were part of the Coast Guard's ongoing effort to focus personnel and resources on known drug transit zones in the Pacific.

"The men and women of Waesche's crew performed flawlessly during this deployment, preventing millions in illicit narcotics from reaching U.S. shores," said Capt. James Passarelli, Waesche's commanding officer.

"Their efforts under challenging and dangerous conditions speak volumes to their collective sense of dedication and sacrifice in keeping America safe," Passarelli added.

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