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PICS/VIDEO: VP Pence praises Coast Guard crew that seized $569M worth of drugs, including epic heist from moving sub

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters from aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) while aboard the cutter in San Diego July 11, 2019, during Munro’s bulk offload of more than 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana, worth a combined estimated $569 million. The drugs offloaded represent 14 separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions and disruptions in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by three Coast Guard cutters between May and July 2019. (Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi/U.S. Coast Guard)
July 12, 2019
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Vice President Mike Pence welcomed the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro into port Thursday where it offloaded 39,000 pounds of seized cocaine.

The Munro returned from a three-month deployment, during which it made 14 drug seizures in the Eastern Pacific Ocean totaling 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana, with a combined worth of $569 million, according to the Coast Guard.

Pence said the efforts “will lead to the prosecution of 55 alleged smugglers,” adding, “That is a remarkable record of success.”

“When the red racing stripes of a Coast Guard vessel break the horizon, those in distress know that help is on the way, and our enemies know their time has come,” Pence said. “Thanks for proving that on the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro on your first mission.”

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Vice President Mike Pence speaks to Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) crew members July 11, 2019, while aboard Munro in San Diego during the cutter’s bulk offload of more than 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana, worth a combined estimated $569 million. The drugs offloaded represent 14 separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions and disruptions in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by three Coast Guard cutters between May and July 2019. (Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi/U.S. Coast Guard)

The offloading ceremony and Pence’s speech took place at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, Calif.

“A pound of cocaine is enough for thousands of fatal doses, and you’ve kept thousands of pounds of cocaine out of our communities, on this mission,” Pence said, stressing the vital importance of the Coast Guard’s efforts.

Vice President Mike Pence salutes U.S. Coast Guard Capt. James C. Estramonte, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755), after Pence walks aboard the cutter July 11, 2019, in San Diego. Pence addressed the crew prior to the crew offloading more than 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana, worth a combined estimated $569 million, seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean by three Coast Guard cutters between May and July 2019. (Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi/U.S. Coast Guard)

Of the nearly 40,000 pounds of drugs offloaded, 16,000 pounds of cocaine was seized from a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel (SPSS), marking the largest single bust over the Munro’s three-month deployment.

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Coast Guard video from June 18 shows Munro crew members boarding the SPSS and banging on the hatch before breaching entry. The vessel had refused to stop after Coast Guardsmen shouted commands.

In his speech Thursday, Pence continued his praise of the Coast Guard’s mission, remarking on their increasing efforts resulting in more drug seizures than ever.

Vice President Mike Pence stands alongside U.S. Coast Guard Capt. James C. Estramonte, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755), and Munro crewmembers while aboard the cutter in San Diego July 11, 2019, during Munro’s bulk offload of more than 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana, worth a combined estimated $569 million. The drugs offloaded represent 14 separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions and disruptions in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by three Coast Guard cutters between May and July 2019. (Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi/U.S. Coast Guard)

“Since October 2016, the Coast Guard has actually seized more than 1.2 million pounds of cocaine. And already this year, the Coast Guard has seized roughly $3.6 billion in illegal drugs and detained more than 400 alleged smugglers,” Pence said.

Vice President Mike Pence signs the engine housing from a go-fast boat interdicted by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) crew members during Munro’s bulk offload of more than 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana, worth a combined estimated $569 million, July 11, 2019. A Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron precision marksman used disabling-gunfire to stop the boat during an interdiction in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. (Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi/U.S. Coast Guard)

“Our Coast Guard deserves better, that’s why we are fully committed to funding our Coast Guard and to replacing old ships with new ones just like the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro,” Pence said, adding that President Donald Trump’s recent budget allocated $12 billion to rebuild Coast Guard vessels.

U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, Pacific Area commander, speaks to Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) crew members July 11, 2019, while aboard Munro in San Diego during the cutter’s bulk offload of more than 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana, worth a combined estimated $569 million. The drugs offloaded represent 14 separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions and disruptions in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by three Coast Guard cutters between May and July 2019. (Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi/U.S. Coast Guard)

“Get ready. More help is on the way,” Pence promised.

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