LOS ANGELES - A single US Coast Guard ship has recovered cocaine worth more than one billion dollars in under a year, authorities said Monday.

The Stratton confiscated an impressive 29.9 tonnes of the drug in 10 months, from October 2012 through September 30, 2014, off Latin American coasts in the eastern Pacific, the coast guard reported.

“This is about more than just trying to keep drugs off US streets,” said Coast Guard Commander Paul Zukunft.

“The cultivation, trafficking and distribution of narcotics fuels violence and instability throughout the Western Hemisphere, leaving a path of destruction directly to the door step of the US,” he added.

“We must continue to make progress in our effort to combat transnational organized crime networks to ensure safety and security in our hemisphere.”

The cocaine - from 23 interdiction operations - is equal to about 33 million lines of cocaine or 336 million hits of crack, DEA estimates say.

Meanwhile Mexico, next door to the lucrative US market, is enduring a nightmare of drug-related violence that has left more than 100,000 people dead and 22,000 missing since 2006, when the government deployed the military to fight the country’s powerful drug cartels.