The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert seized more than 3.3 tons of marijuana from the Pacific Ocean approximately 90 miles west of San Nicolas Island, authorities announced Wednesday.
According to the Coast Guard, a C-130 Hercules aircraft based in Sacramento was patrolling off the Southern California coast on Sunday morning when they spotted a smugglers' vessel.
The crew of the vessel saw the aircraft and began jettisoning bales as the boat sped south at a high rate of speed.
The aircraft contacted the Cutter Alert which steamed to the area and recovered more than 245 bales of contraband.
"Thanks to our Coast Guard crews in the air and on the water, we disrupted this smuggling threat and recovered a huge amount of drugs," said Cmdr. Daniel Pickles, commanding officer of the Alert.
The Coast Guard and other agency crews regularly patrol the waters off of Southern California to detect, deter, and disrupt the smuggling of illegal migrants and drugs.
"The persistent presence of Coast Guard assets, along with those of our law enforcement partners, off of California's shores, is essential to stop the pangas smuggling people and drugs into the U.S.," said 11th Coast Guard District Commander Rear Adm. Karl Schultz. "The Sinaloa cartel and other criminal organizations are exploiting these sea routes to move their illicit cargo and fund their broader illegal enterprises."
The Coast Guard Cutter Alert is based in Astoria, Ore., and was commissioned on August 4, 1969 and has a crew of 75.
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