SAN PEDRO (CBSLA) — A newly-commissioned Coast Guard ship is coming back to San Pedro Thursday extra heavy after seizing about 2,800 pounds of cocaine along the U.S. coast and the shipping zones off Central and South America.

The crew retrieved the bales of cocaine found drifting in international waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean last week. The 2,800 pounds of cocaine has a street value of about $38.5 million according to the Coast Guard.

“You’re talking about $38 million we’re taking out of the pockets of cartels,” Lt. Commander Matthew Kroll said.

And this latest seizure of drugs is not even the biggest seized by the Coast Guard this month. An estimated 3,000 pounds of cocaine was seized by in mid-July and brought to shore in San Diego.

The Coast Guard Cutter Robert Ward was responsible for both drug seizures. In one seizure, the crew was able to take the smugglers into custody, but in another, they got away.

“What can happen is if they detect us or they sense we’re in the area, or for whatever reasons, they will jettison those drugs in the water and then flee the scene,” Rear Admiral Peter Gautier said.

The Coast Guard Cutter Robert Ward is one of four newly-commissioned cutters homeported in San Pedro to help strengthen the Coast Guard’s safety, security and emergency response capabilities in the region.

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