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Reuters: Coast Guard hauls in 20 tons of cocaine in record bust


heyholetsgogrant

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U.S. News

ALAMEDA, California (Reuters) -- The U.S. Coast Guard unloaded nearly 20 tons of cocaine with a retail street value of $600 million at a California port Monday following what they called the largest drug bust at sea.

The armed Coast Guard Cutter Sherman made the bust March 17 when it stopped the Panamanian cargo ship Gatun about 20 miles off a Panamanian island.

On Monday, dozens of Coast Guard officials under heavy armed protection hauled bales of tightly wrapped packs of cocaine onto a pier at the service's West Coast command center near Oakland, California.

"It was the largest bust in U.S. history. It's the largest interdiction on the ocean," Lt. Brock Eckel, one of the officers from the Sherman who discovered the illegal drugs, said in an interview. "It was very exciting, of course. Fifteen guys moved 20 tons of contraband in five hours, so it was very exhausting."

The find aboard the Gatun, which was heading from Panama to Mexico in the Pacific Ocean, came late at night following a tip from an intelligence source, officials said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Keith Alholm estimated the U.S. street value of the record bust at $300 million wholesale, $600 million retail.

The cargo ship's 14 crew members were Panamanians and Mexicans, who acted nervously but were not armed and offered no resistance when stopped, according to Coast Guard officials who were present during the inspection. The cargo ship also carried tiles and sand.

"If you try to fight with the U.S. Coast Guard, you come out on the losing end. It would be futile," said Charles DeMore, head of the San Francisco office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Panamanians were handed over to Panama while the Mexicans were taken into U.S. custody, Eckel said. The drugs would be transferred to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for eventual incineration.

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Source: Reuters

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/23/drugs.coastguard.reut/index.html

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Destroying anything worth 600 million dollars seems foolish if you ask me.

They could have taken that stuff over to Iran and messed that whole country up good.

I've always been an advocate of poisoning it and them letting it go to the streets

Presto! No more drug problem

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I've always been an advocate of poisoning it and them letting it go to the streets

Presto! No more drug problem

That would be sweet. Then we would've never had to deal with W as President. He'd have killed himself in college along with 70% of the college population! That's awesome.

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That would be sweet. Then we would've never had to deal with W as President. He'd have killed himself in college along with 70% of the college population! That's awesome.

No, it be a deterrent. It would take about a week for everyone to stop. Maybe less.

And that would be a good thing

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This is a good thing, but I have a stupid question. What authority do we have for stopping a foreign vessel in international waters?

It says that they were tipped off by someone. That gives them the right. I'm sure that they were in contact witht the Mexican government. Anyway, you know all of that stuff was coming to the US.

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