…As 500 migrants picked up around Greek islands in just a day***
The 1969-built U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alert called at the Port of San Diego Wednesday to offload $92 million worth of seized cocaine.
The drugs were seized in four separate interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America in the international waters of the Eastern Pacific. Three cutters – the Alert, the Robert Ward and the Seneca – contributed to the haul. Alert was responsible for two of the four cases, seizing a total of about two tons of cocaine, while Seneca and Robert Ward captured about 1,500 pounds each.
“I am extremely proud of this crew for doing their part to keep these dangerous drugs off the streets,” said Cmdr. Tyson Scofield, Alert’s commanding officer. “The Eastern Pacific Ocean is a challenging environment, especially on a ship that is in her 50th year of service, yet this crew persevered to disrupt the illegal flow of narcotics that fuels instability in Central and South America. The counter-drug mission is as important now as it has ever been, and these brave men and women can return home after a 69-day patrol knowing they made a difference.”
The U.S. Coast Guard maintains an active presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones. During at-sea interdictions in international waters, a suspect vessel is generally located and tracked by allied, military or law enforcement personnel. The interdictions, including the actual boarding, are led and conducted by U.S. Coast Guardsmen.
The effort has yielded impressive results. In FY2017, the Coast Guard seized about 445,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $6 billion, compared with about 36,000 pounds seized on shore by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Meanwhile, nearly 500 migrants were on Thursday discovered
around and picked up at the Greek Islands, according to the Greek authorities.
Greece’s Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection in Athens and the Pireaus coastguard said that they picked up 474 migrants.
The Greek Aegean islands host a large migrant and refugee population, and Athens is straining under a new surge in arrivals from Turkey.
There are more than 33,000 people being hosted in overfilled camps and other accommodation on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos.
According to figures from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the number of migrants coming from Turkey to the Greek islands since the beginning of 2019 had risen to 39,000, compared to 32,494 in the previous year.