The first National Security Cutter, Bertholf, performs sea trials in 2008. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Bobby Nash

U.S. Coast Guard personnel in San Diego Thursday unloaded more than 26,000 pounds of cocaine and marijuana seized from drug smugglers in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in recent months.

Crews aboard six Coast Guard cutters and two Navy ships intercepted the illicit drugs during separate interdictions off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America. The seizures occurred between late May and late August, according to officials.

“I’m extremely proud of the hard work and dedication displayed by the men and women of the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf, especially in this current environment,” said Capt. Brian Anderson, commanding officer of the vessel.

The crew offloaded the confiscated drugs in San Diego Thursday morning. The Bertholf is home-ported in Alameda.

“The crew adapted and implemented new protocols in response to the added risk of COVID-19 exposure in the course of operations,” he said. “They remained focused on what they needed to do to keep each other safe and effectively accomplish the mission of keeping these drugs off our streets, which will save countless lives.”

So far in fiscal 2020, the Coast Guard has conducted more than 171 interdictions, seizing more than 282,000 pounds of cocaine and 57,000 pounds of marijuana. The service has detained more than 390 suspected smugglers in drug-transit zones of the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea.

– City News Service