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Video: U.S. Coast Guard Offloads $220M in Cocaine in San Diego

kimball drugs
Images courtesy USCG

Published Mar 31, 2022 7:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Thursday, the U.S.?Coast Guard Cutter Kimball offloaded more than 11,300 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $220 million in San Diego.

The drugs were seized in the Eastern Pacific off Central and South America,?and they include the results of during eight interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels in February and March. Four ships carried out these operations, including the cutters Kimball, Legare and Spencer and the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Yellowknife. Legare led the pack with four interdictions and 4,700 pounds of cocaine seized. 

"At-sea interdictions of pure cocaine are the most effective way to limit cartels' destabilizing effects throughout the Western Hemisphere," said Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, Coast Guard Pacific Area commander. "Coast Guard national security cutters like Kimball are the service's most capable asset to strengthen maritime governance."

The Kimball is a 420-foot National Security Cutter homeported in Honolulu. She is the seventh in the class and was commissioned in 2019, but this was her first anti-smuggling deployment to the busy hunting grounds off Central and South America.

"This marks the first of likely many counter-drug patrols for Kimball and I am extremely proud of our crew's preparation and hard work," said Capt. Thomas D'Arcy, commanding officer of the Kimball. "Through teamwork we were able to remove over $100 million dollars of cocaine, preventing it from ever crossing our borders or entering our neighborhoods." 

The majority of cocaine intercepted on the north-south maritime corridor between Colombia and Mexico may ultimately be destined for the European market, not the United States, according to research by Kendra McSweeney, a professor of geography at Ohio State University. Though it starts off heading north, the majority ends up in shipping containers at ports like Colon, Cortés and Limón-Moín, then heads east across the Atlantic to a more lucrative market.