The war on drugs has become bigger, costlier, and more dangerous with every passing day. Drug smugglers have created well thought plans of smuggling drugs across the US, but with the increased presence of agents, sting operations, and help between local, state, and federal officers- big drug busts with millions of dollars of seized drugs are becoming more common. Here are a few of the biggest drug busts in recent years:
Gatun ship bust- The cocaine bust on the Panamanian ship, Gatun, is considered the largest maritime cocaine bust in US history. The US Coast Guard made contact with the ship after being spotted by a patrol ship in March of 2007. In plain sight, on the top main deck of the freighter, the Coast Guard uncovered more than 42,000 pounds of cocaine with an estimated worth of 600 million dollars. 14 crew members, all from Mexico and Panama were arrested.
Project Deliverance bust- A two year nationwide drug bust with roots in Nevada, ended with the arrests of 429 people in 27 different cities across the US. The sting operation named “Project Deliverance” was composed of DEA, FBI, ICE, several local agencies and Mexican officials, and led to the confiscation of more than 1200 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 2 tons of cocaine, 1400 pounds of heroin, more than 69 tons of marijuana. The bust also led to the seizure of more than 154 million dollars.
Gilroy, California bust- In August of 2010, several local and federal agencies raided a home in Gilroy and confiscated crystal methamphetamines and cocaine that had a street value of up to 100 million dollars. The home appeared to have ties to Mexican drug cartels and the three men taken into custody were Mexican nationals. The men are facing multiple felony charges including possession for sale of methamphetamine and the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Southern California bust- After authorities pulled over a tractor trailer in June of 2010 in Southern California for a traffic violation, a strong smell overwhelmed them and after finding inconsistencies within the paperwork for the load, a search of the trailer was prompted. Inside the trailer authorities discovered about 20 tons of drugs including an estimated 38,000 pounds of marijuana, 67 pounds of methamphetamines and 2,700 pounds of cocaine, totaling an estimated 45 million dollars. The truck’s driver was arrested and charged with possession, transportation, and sale of narcotics.
Pesotum, Illinois- The February 2010 drug bust, in which police seized more than 2 tons of marijuana is among one of the biggest drug busts in Illinois history. State police pulled over a tractor-trailer during a routine traffic stop and after becoming suspicious and granted consent to search the vehicle, found 270 shrink-wrapped bales of marijuana, an estimated total of between 14 and 19 million dollars. The driver and two passengers, who were headed to Chicago, were arrested and charged with possession, manufacture and delivery of cannabis, cannabis trafficking and cannabis conspiracy. If convicted, the men face between 12 and 60 years in prison.