CORONADO, Calif. — 39,000 pounds of cocaine and another 933 pounds of marijuana were off-loaded in California Thursday as a U.S. Coast Guard ship returned from a deployment.
They were welcomed home by Vice-President Mike Pence himself.
“As evidence by the contraband that surrounds us on this deck and will be off-loaded today, you truly are gallantry in action,” Pence said to the crew on the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro.
The crew ship was on its maiden voyage to international waters off the coast of Mexico and Central America. During its time in the tropics, the ship raided 14 boats starting in the month of May.
The largest of the operations was when they spotted a semi-submersible boat that was intending to smuggle 16,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States. 55 smugglers were taken into custody once the raids were all said and done.
In all, the Coast Guard says the drugs have an estimated street value of $569 million.
Pence took the opportunity to reassure members of the Coast Guard that its successful deployments like these that show how necessary it is to keep funding the Coast Guard in whatever it needs.
He also mentioned how drug smugglers aren’t just using the seas to smuggle drugs into the U.S.
“We have a crisis at our southern border,” Pence said. “Every day that out southern border remains unsecured gives criminal syndicates and drug traffickers more opportunity to peddle their poison and spread the violence that has cut short too many American lives.”
Pence added that it’s drug cartels and traffickers that are forcing innocent families to make the journey north towards the U.S’s southern border. It’s there where Immigration and Customs Enforcement has taken some heat from many in Washington for what they are calling bad conditions at ICE detention centers were immigrants are being held while asylum requests are processed.
Pence will be visiting one of these detention centers in McAllan, Texas today.
(PHOTO: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)