USCG Unloads $223M in Cocaine, Marijuana in San Diego

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Kimball
Crew from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Kimball on deck with about 11,300 pounds of cocaine and roughly 4,000 pounds of marijuana worth more than $223 million on March 31, 2022 in San Diego. U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alex Gray.

The combined efforts of U.S. Coast Guard crews and a Canadian military vessel resulted in a seizure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean of 11,300 pounds of cocaine and over 4,000 pounds of marijuana. The drugs, worth over $223 million on the street, were recently unloaded from the Coast Guard cutter Kimball in San Diego.

The authorities seized the cocaine and marijuana in international waters off the coasts of Central and South America. The haulincluded contraband seized and recovered during eight interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels between late February and early March.

“At-sea interdictions of pure cocaine are the most effective way to limit cartel’s destabilizing effects throughout the Western Hemisphere,” said Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area Commander. “Coast Guard national security cutters like Kimball are the service’s most capable asset to strengthen maritime governance, but when (joined by) team partners from the Royal Canadian Navy and U.S. Navy Littoral combat ships they leverage our network of international and interagency partners to reduce the availability of illicit drugs in the Western Hemisphere and facilitate U.S. Attorney’s efforts to close the cycle of justice.”

Capt. Thomas D’Arcy, the commanding officer of the Kimball, said the operation marked “the first of likely many counter-drug patrols for Kimball, and I am extremely proud of our crew’s preparation and hard work to make this an extremely successful deployment.”

The Kimball, homeported in Honolulu, is a 420-foot Legend-Class National Security Cutter with a range of 13,000 nautical miles.

Kimball’s crew demonstrated that through teamwork we were able to remove over $100 million dollars of cocaine, preventing it from ever crossing our borders or entering our neighborhoods, and further removing a source of illicit revenue from transnational criminal networks,” D’Arcy said.

The captain, like McAllister, also pointed to the Kimball’s collaborations with partners and international allies, like the Canadian crew of Yellowknife. Expanding “the reach and capabilities of our joint counter-drug team” he said, allows the partners “to achieve greater success together.”

U.S. agencies, including the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, participated in the effort in an attempt to combat transnational organized crime.

The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, plus allied and international partner agencies, all play a role in counter-drug operations.