San Francisco Chronicle
TUESDAY, JANUARY 18, 1983
By Maitland Zane
In a fog-shrouded scene right out of a B
movie, federal agents on a San Francisco
waterfront stakeout seized 400 pounds of
cocaine early yesterday after frogmen
from a Colombian freighter swam ashore
carrying bundles of the drug.
At least five Bay Area men were among the 12
Latinos arrested in what U.S. Attorney Joseph Rus-
soniello described as the largest cocaine smuggling
seizure in memory on the West Coast.
Customs agents estimated the wholesale value
of the drug at $12 million, but Russoniello said the
street value after "routine dilution" would be
about $750 million.
But Joe Krueger, agent in charge of the Drug
Enforcement Administration office, estimated the
street sale value at $100 million. He put the whole-
sale value at $11 million or more.
Forty agents from the Customs Service, the
FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Immi-
gration and Naturalization Service took part in the
4 a.m. arrests at India Basin's Pier 96.
Several shots were fired by one of the smug-
glers, but no one was hurt, agents said.
Russoniello held a news conference in the FBI
headquaters at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, where
several duffel bags containing drugs were dis-
played, as well as an Israeli-made Uzi machine gun
and several pistols.
Robert Downey, area patrol director for U.S.
Customs, said nothing illegal was found aboard the
freighter, Ciudad de Cucuta, when customs agents
routinely searched the ship Sunday
Apparently because of a tip,
agents kept the ship under surveil-
lance anyway, and their vigilance
Russoniello said he has not yet
decided whether forfeiture pro-
ceedings will be instituted against
the ships owners, the Gran Colom-
biana line. Russoniello said several
other ships owned by Gran Colom-
biana have been involved in drug
smuggling cases. The captain of the
Ciudad de Cucuta was not arrested
Downey said that about 2 a.m.
yesterday, a customs "surveillance
unit" saw seven men jump off a
truck on Cargo Road, near Pier 96,
and head across a marshy field
toward the bay.
Soon after, Downey said,
agenu spotted two frogmen in wet-
suits with bundles wrapped in
"The cocaine was being swum
in to shore," said Russoniello.
When the agents moved in, one
of the frogmen fired a burst from
his Wilkinson "Linda" machine
gun, but no one was hurt and the
man surrendered without incident.
Downey said three of the men
arrested were believed to be
ates who had been cruising the area
keeping a lookout for the federal
The following Bay Area men
are due to be arraigned today be-
fore a U.S. magistrate:
Carlos Guestabo Ortiz, 27, an
electrician from San Francisco;
Hoover Ortiz. 30, a Daly City me-
chanic; Julio Mena, 33, a San Bruno
truck driver; Marcos Rodriguez, 24,
no occupation listed, of Daly City;
and Humberto Calero, 39, a Hay-
Others included Sacria Mo-
raeno, 32, Arnoldo Botero, 30, both
of Calle, Columbia, as well as Carlos
Juan Losano, a Los Angeles sea-
man; Marco Llanos, 23, of Miami,
Fla.; Alberto Lebron, 29, of New
York City; Miguel Cruz, 20, no ad-
dress; and Rudolfo Boniolla Santies-
teban, 39, no address.