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Coast Guard seizes 11 tons of cocaine, arrests dozens

As part of a multi-agency anti-drug-trafficking patrol off the coasts of Central and South America, the Alameda-based U.S. Coast Guard cutter Stratton seized more than eight tons on its recent deployment, the Coast Guard reported Thursday.

The Stratton crew, combined with crews of the cutters Seneca and Active, seized a total of more than 11 tons of narcotics, offloading the bales Wednesday in San Diego. Stratton’s crew alone intercepted seven drug smuggling vessels in 26 days, detaining 23 suspected smugglers for prosecution in the U.S. and partner nations.

The wholesale value of the seized drugs was estimated at about $235 million, Coast Guard officials said. Counter-drug operations in the eastern Pacific region involved multiple U.S. agencies and an air crew and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from a tactical squadron based in Florida.

The Stratton just returned to the Bay Area after a 104-day patrol that also included enforcement of fisheries regulations in Alaska.

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