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18-ton cocaine bust displayed on San Diego pier by U.S. Coast Guard

Crew members of the US Coast Guard Cutter Waesche stand guard over 18 tons of cocaine displayed on a San Diego pier. The drugs were seized between March and June in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

SAN DIEGO — In keeping with the notion that nothing really happens until it’s posted on social media, the U.S. Coast Guard took to the web to tout its latest high-seas haul of illegal drugs.

“Here’s what 18 tons of cocaine look like!” the Coast Guard heralded in a post with video and photographs on the San Diego sector’s Facebook page.

The drugs, stacked on pallets and surrounded by crew members of the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche, went on display Thursday.

The 36,000 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $500 million, had to be lifted off the vessel by cranes.

Crew member of the US Coast Guard Cutter Waesche

The drugs were seized between March and June in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Ten cutters took part in the operation, centered along the Central and South American coasts.

“The load represents 15 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels, known as pangas, and three cases of seized bales of cocaine dumped by suspected smugglers,” the Coast Guard said.

The narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Agency for processing into evidence.

The U.S. Coast Guard last fiscal year seized more than 416,600 pounds of cocaine and took 585 suspected smugglers into custody from the eastern Pacific, the Coast Guard statement said.