- Title: USA: COAST GUARD OFFICIALS MAKE LARGEST-EVER MARITIME COCAINE BUST.
- Date: 15th May 2001
- Summary: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, USA (MAY 14, 2001) (REUTERS (A) - NO ACCESS USA/CNN/INTERNET) 1. AV: VARIOUS AERIALS OF THE SEIZED SHIP 0.04 2. AV: BALES SEIZED FROM SHIP PILED ON DOCK 0.10 3. AV: MORE AERIALS (7 SHOTS) 1.37 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 30th May 2001 13:00
- Location: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA; USA
- Country: USA
- Reuters ID: LVA22N6YTTVD0MZGU9X9C90A6JG5
- Story Text: U.S. Coast Guard officials have seized more than 13
tons of cocaine stashed in secret compartments on a fishing
boat off San Diego in the largest maritime cocaine bust.
Details of the May 3 ship seizure were given at a news
conference by the U.S. attorney's office on Monday (May 14).
A Customs Service jet discovered the suspicious vessel in
late April when it was observed "fishing" in an area of the
Pacific that is not used for fishing.
After tracking the 152-foot (46-metre) Svesda Maru for
several days, the probe was turned over to the Coast Guard,
which seized the ship.
The drugs were found hidden in fuel tanks beneath fish
holds that were virtually empty, Riutta said. There was no
sign of fishing gear aboard the vessel.
With a crew of 10 Russians and Ukrainians, the ship was
towed to San Diego. The 10 were taken into federal custody and
may face arraignment on smuggling charges. If convicted the
men could face 10 years to life in prison and a 4 million U.S.
dollar fine, officials said.
Coast Guard officials believe the shipment weighing more
than 13 tons was bound for Mexico or Columbia where it was
believed that cartels would use sophisticated distribution
systems to transport it to the United States.
The street value of the cocaine seized in the two latest
eastern Pacific raids was estimated at more than 500 million
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