US Coast Guard offloads more than 3,516 pounds of cocaine, 50 pounds of marijuana seized in Caribbean interdictions
MIAMI, USA — The crew of the US Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber offloaded approximately 3,516 pounds of cocaine and 50 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated wholesale value of over $47 million seized in international waters in the Caribbean Basin from late September to early October, on Tuesday at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach.
The drugs were seized during the interdictions of three suspected smuggling vessels off the coasts of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Aruba by the Coast Guard Cutters Donald Horsley, Vigilant and Charles Sexton.
• The cutter Sexton was responsible for one case on October 10, seizing an estimated 2700 pounds of cocaine.
• The cutter Donald Horsley was responsible for one case on October 4, seizing an estimated 816 pounds of cocaine.
• The cutter Vigilant was responsible for one case on September 30, seizing an estimated 50 pounds of marijuana.
“The contraband landed by the Bernard C. Webber crew is a testament to the professional expertise and dedication of US law enforcement agencies and international partners working together to combat the flow of illicit drugs through the Caribbean region and into the United States,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Montes, duty enforcement officer at Coast Guard 7th District. “These partnerships are imperative in the identification, intercept, and seizure of vessels engaged in illicit trafficking and, without the hard work from US and international agencies, these illicit drugs would negatively impact the prosperity and security of the Caribbean region.”
Numerous US agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated 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 Caribbean Basin requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by US Attorneys in districts across the nation.
The Coast Guard increased US 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 detected and monitored by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida.
The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Caribbean Basin is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 7th District, headquartered in Miami, Florida. The interdictions, including the actual boarding, are led and conducted by members of the US Coast Guard.
IMAGE: Bales of cocaine offloaded at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach on October 16, 2018. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Erik Villa-Rodriguez