Over US$475 million in illegal narcotics seized in Caribbean Sea

The United States Coast Guard says it recently offloaded approximately  24,700 pounds of cocaine and 3,892 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated US$475 million in Miami Beach, Florida.

In a statement on Saturday, the  Coast Guard said the drugs were interdicted in the waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The US Coast Guard said crews involved in the operation included His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship HNLMS Groningen (P843) of the Royal Netherlands Navy and embarked US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 101; US Navy ship USS Billings (LCS 15) and embarked US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 401; US Coast Guard Cutter James (WMSL 754); and US Coast Guard Cutter Legare (WMEC 912).

“I am proud of the crew’s continued devotion to duty that made this offload possible,” said Commander Jeremy M. Greenwood, commanding officer of Legare.

“Through the coordinated efforts of the Legare, the LEDETs, HNLMS Groningen, CGC James and the USS Billings crews, we significantly contributed to the counter-drug mission and the dismantling of transnational criminal organizations,” he added. “The drugs seized through this coordinated effort will result in significantly fewer drug-related overdoses.”

The US Coast Guard said the fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean, and the transnational criminal organizations they are associated with, requires “a unity of effort in all phases; from detection and monitoring to interdiction and apprehension, and on to criminal prosecutions by international partners and US Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation.

“Detecting and interdicting illegal drug traffickers on the high seas involves significant interagency and international coordination,” said the US Coast Guard, stating that the Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Florida conducts detection and monitoring of aerial and maritime transit of illegal drugs.

It said maritime interdiction of illicit smuggling activity in the Caribbean Sea is coordinated by the Seventh Coast Guard District, headquartered in Miami.

The US Coast Guard said the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard also coordinates maritime interdiction of illicit smuggling activity with deployed Royal Netherlands Navy ships and their embarked Dutch Fleet Marine Corps squadrons and US Coast Guard LEDETs in the Eastern Caribbean Sea near the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

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