Coast Guard Seized $390 Million Worth of Cocaine from Trafficking Pipeline Destined for American Cokeheads

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Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast law enforcement boarding team inspect a boat suspected of trafficking, April 2, 2018.

Coast Guard Seized $390 Million Worth of Cocaine from Trafficking Pipeline Destined for American Cokeheads

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Legare is scheduled to offload approximately 12 tons of cocaine and 1 ton of marijuana Tuesday in Port Everglades worth an estimated $390 million total wholesale seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The drugs were interdicted off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America by multiple U.S. Coast Guard cutters and Canadian Naval vessels.

The offload represents 17 separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions by:

  • The Coast Guard Cutter Reliance was responsible for one case, seizing an estimated 1,200

kilograms of marijuana.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard Cutter Forward sits moored at Base Support Unit Portsmouth just before sunrise Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009. Behind the Forward are two other 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutters homeported at the base, the cutters Legare and Bear. In total there are six of these cutters sharing the same responsibilities, allowing their crews to enjoy a two-month in-port period and a two-month deployment period. Some of those responsibilities include: Search and Rescue; Enforcement of Laws and Treaties; Maritime Defense; and Protection of the Marine Environment. They most often deploy between the Coasts of Maine and Florida and throughout the Caribbean, but at times cross the Atlantic or visit the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/PA2 Andrew Kendrick)
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Legare was responsible for five cases, seizing an estimated 2,051

kilograms of cocaine and 8 kilograms of marijuana.

  • The Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane was responsible for one case, seizing an estimated 907

kilograms of cocaine.

  • The Coast Guard Cutter Decisive was responsible for two cases, seizing an estimated 430

kilograms of cocaine.

900 kilos of cocaine seized by Coast Guard in the Caribbean on March 6, 2018.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast was responsible for four cases seizing an estimated 1730

kilograms of cocaine.

Members of the embarked United States Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment from HMCS Whitehorse approach a fishing vessel during Operation CARIBBE on April 5, 2018.
Photo: MARPAC Public Affairs
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Des membres du détachement d’exécution de la loi de la garde côtière des États Unis du NCSM Whitehorse s’approchent d’un navire de pêche au cours de l’opération CARIBBE, le 5 avril 2018.
Photo: Affaires publiques des FMAR(P)
  • HMCS Whitehorse was responsible for two cases, seizing an estimated 1,540

    kilograms of cocaine.

  • HMCS Edmonton was responsible for one case, seizing an estimated 451

    kilograms of cocaine.

Two members of the United States Coast Guard cut the netting away from a large bale of cocaine on the deck of HMCS Whitehorse, part of the 1,500 kg of cocaine seized on April 5, 2018, during Operation CARIBBE.
Photo: MARPAC Public Affairs

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Deux membres la garde côtière des États Unis se trouvant sur le pont du NCSM Whitehorse coupent le filet entourant un grand ballot de cocaïne faisant partie des 1 500 kg de cocaïne qui ont été saisis le 5 avril 2018, dans le cadre de l’opération CARIBBE.
Photo : Affaires publiques des FMAR(P)

  • The Coast Guard Cutter Dependable was responsible for one case seizing an estimated 454

kilograms of cocaine.

Cmdr. Jonathan Carter, commanding officer of Legare:
“Today’s offload sends them a message that our network of partners and allies remains resolute in our commitment to stem the flow of illicit trafficking that breeds instability.”

Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security are involved in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with allied and international partner agencies play a role in counter-drug operations. The fight against transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions to prosecutions by several U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the nation and authorities in partner nations.

“What these numbers represent is an increased commitment by U.S. and international partners to combat transnational criminal networks and promote stability in the Central American region, along the U.S. southern border, and in the southern maritime approaches to the U.S.,” said Cmdr. Jonathan Carter, commanding officer of Legare. “Today’s offload sends them a message that our network of partners and allies remains resolute in our commitment to stem the flow of illicit trafficking that breeds instability.”

The Coast Guard increased the U.S. and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America, as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy. During at-sea interdictions in international waters, a suspect vessel is initially located and tracked by allied, military or law enforcement personnel. The interdictions, including the actual boarding, are led and conducted by U.S. Coast Guardsmen. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District headquartered in Alameda, California.

The cutter Legare is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia.

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