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Coast Guard seized 18,000 pounds of cocaine worth $312 million

Data pix.

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The U.S. Coast Guard seized some 18,000 pounds of cocaine that was headed to the United States.

Officials said the drugs were taken from seven separate smuggling ships, including a so-called "low-profile go-fast vessel."

The vessels are specially designed to evade law enforcement.

This particular vessel was intercepted in November.

The seized cocaine was unloaded in San Diego on Wednesday, Dec. 18 -- with an estimated street value of more than $300 million.

"These National Security Cutters have been game-changing for us with regard to our ability to do these at-sea interdictions, and so this is an incredible success for this Cutter, for the Bertholf, as she comes home," said Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, Coast Guard Pacific Area commander. "As we sail the next National Security Cutter into the eastern Pacific, which will happen in the next couple of days, we will see equal success from that Cutter. This is hard, dangerous work for these crews to actually gain access and control of those vessels, and then there's just a lot of hard labor to get all of these narcotics off of these small boats that the Narco traffickers are using onto the flight deck. There's evidentiary rules and tracking, and it's all nice and neatly bundled behind us, but it represents a lot of work and effort by the crew, so the problem is big. Cocaine production continues the cultivation of cocaine grows in South America, so the denominator continues to increase."

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