7 of the Largest Drug Busts in History

The war on drugs has been going on for sometime now, but it’s nowhere near eradicating the whole drug problem. Sure, governments have scored major drug busts over the years, but drug cartels continue operating with relative impunity, as if the seizures listed below were no more than just operational hiccups.


In fairness to law enforcers, the drug busts they’ve done are quite impressive as far as the amount of drugs confiscated and its estimated street value are concerned. Some border on the staggering. Here are some of them:

1. In 1991, law enforcers in San Francisco seized 59 boxes containing 1,080 pounds of heroin, which, according to drug war officials, have a total street value of $2.7 billion to $4 billion. It is regarded as the biggest heroin bust ever.


2. Twenty-one tons of cocaine were seized from a Los Angeles warehouse in 1989. Authorities traced ownership of the drugs to Mexican drug lord Rafael Muñoz Talavera of the Juárez cartel, one of Mexico’s richest drug cartels. Muñoz was eventually murdered, his body discovered in Juárez with several bullet wounds in 1998.


3. The late Pablo Escobar, who was once at the helm of the Medellín Cartel in Colombia, had a laboratory he called “Tranquilandia” built in the jungles of Colombia for large-scale cocaine production. In 1984, the Colombian government, acting on a tip from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) raided Tranquilandia and seized 14 tons of cocaine worth more than $1 billion... which is probably as much money as all the drug rehab centers, who eventually would have had those cocaine addicts pouring in, have lost.


4. In what is considered the biggest maritime bust in U.S. history, the U.S. Coast Guard confiscated 40,000 pounds of cocaine from three ships in March 2007. Current street value pegs the cache at $500 million.


5. In May 2005, Colombian authorities claimed to have seized 13.8 tons of cocaine worth $US350 million hidden on a jungle riverbank in southern Colombia.


6. A ship bound for Houston, Texas was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard in January 1999, and yielded over 9,500 pounds of cocaine.


7. On November 1, 1984, U.S. Coast Guard cutter Clover confiscated 13 tons of marijuana from the 63-foot yacht Arrikis 150 miles southwest of San Diego. Three days later, 20 tons of marijuana were seized by yet another Coast Guard ship, the icebreaker CGC Northwind, from the P/C Alexi I off the coast of Jamaica.


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7 Responses to “7 of the Largest Drug Busts in History”

  1. [...] Now if they could only come up with a thingie that mimics snorting coke, without the coke. That could be the end of the war against drugs. [...]

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  3. The only way to end the drug problem is to tax it…

  4. there was a 52 ton hashish bust recently in the middle east on the dea.gov site you can find pictures of the burning bunkers

  5. AGREED!!! personally, cocaine etc.. doesnt sound too appetizing to me. but i love me some good mari jane.
    if the gov taxed it they could make a killing amount of money.. because the majority of people all over the world buy it so..

  6. The largest single drug seizure that ever took place within the continential United States was in May, 1988, in San Francisco, CA. 56 tons of hashish and marijuana was seized from a barge being pulled by the ocean going tug vessel Intrepid Venture. Calvin Robinson, career criminal with connections to international orgainized crime was operating the Intrepid Venture. Street value was over 1 billion dollars. Robinson had successfully smuggled 30 tons of hashish into San Francisco the year before. Robinson was the cell mate of Christopher Boyce in Lompoc Prison. “Falcon and the Snowman” movie. Robinson is believed to have been responsible for breaking Boyce from prison. “Escape of the Falcon”. Boyce had been selling secrets to the KGB. Robinson’s hashish came from Russsia. Check the video on YouTube of largest drug seizure in US history. N Wood

  7. drugs are not the problem its the laws the govern the user that is the prob.cigs legal alchol one illegal now legal the harder it is to get(user dealers etc.)the level of violence penalties & mayhem leaves. There are no ways to deal guerila tactics(cartels & bosses) to a governed drugs user utopia (usa) they want money we want money & fame so a bust looks better than a deal u tell me?greed

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