SAN DIEGO (CBSLA) – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions found himself fielding questions on drug and immigration issues while in San Diego Wednesday morning as the U.S. Coast Guard offloaded more than 50,000 pounds of cocaine that had been seized in several busts.
Sessions joined Coast Guard and Department of Justice officials for a news conference at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal in downtown San Diego displaying 50,500 pounds of cocaine that were offloaded from the Cutter Stratton.
The cocaine was seized from 25 different busts by the Coast Guard and Navy since Aug. 2. It has a street value of $679.3 million.
“If you’re bringing in drugs or illegal substances, you will be prosecuted, and if you get into the country and you get apprehended, you will be deported,” Sessions said. “And that’s the right thing.”
According to Coast Guard numbers, a record 455,000 pounds of cocaine have been seized by the Coast Guard in the 2017 fiscal year, worth an estimated $6.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Sessions was asked several times about the recent passage of the California sanctuary state bill.
“One of the sad things is we have this disagreement over sanctuary cities and sanctuary states,” Sessions said. “And the refusal of certain jurisdictions to cooperate with our colleagues, mostly our ICE agents, who have the responsibility under the law, the duty to arrest people who are in the country illegally, who commit, in addition to that, crimes against the United States of America, who are due to be deported. And I find it almost unbelievable that states and cities would object to that?”
Sessions was also adamant that federal laws outlawing marijuana would remain in place, despite California and other states’ legalization of the drug.
“I never felt that we should legalize marijuana… It doesn’t strike me that the country would be better if it’s being sold at every street corner.”
He emphasized his support for President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
“We’re going to work hard to support the president’s agenda to create a lawful system of immigration, one that we can be proud of, one that serves the national interest,” Sessions said. “And in the process of that, we will reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the country.”
Once signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the sanctuary state bill will limit how local and state police can interact with federal immigration agents. It is intended to bolster immigrant protections in the state that are already among the toughest in the nation.