US Coast Guard seizes US$243 million in illegal drugs during 45-day patrol

Miami – The United States Coast Guard on Saturday said that the crew of its cutter Dauntless, on Friday, offloaded at its Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, more than US$243 million in illegal narcotics seized in the Caribbean Sea.

The US Coast Guard said the Dauntless’ crew seized about 8 500 pounds of cocaine and apprehended 13 suspected drug smugglers with Dominican Republic and Colombian nationalities following a 45-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea.

“The Dauntless’ crew worked alongside multiple US Coast Guard assets and international assets, including the HNLMS Friesland of the Royal Netherlands Navy to interdict the illegal drug smuggling ventures,” the US Coast Guard said.

“The Coast Guard’s strong international partnerships, counter threats in the maritime domain, protect each of our countries from transnational organised crime, and work to stabilise and promote good governance in the region,” said Lieutenant Paul Puddington, a District Seven duty enforcement officer.

“We are thankful for coordinated efforts across the US Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, Customs and Border Protection, as well as our international partners from the Netherlands and throughout Central and South America,” he added.

The US Coast Guard said the fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires “unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and US Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation”.

During at-sea interdictions, the US Coast Guard said a suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by the Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida.

The US Coast Guard said the law enforcement phase of operations in the Caribbean Sea is conducted under the authority of the Seventh Coast Guard District, headquartered in Miami, Florida.

It said the interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by its members.

The US Coast Guard said the Dauntless, a 210-foot Reliance-class medium endurance cutter, patrols the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean, performing counter-drug operations, migrant interdiction operations, search and rescue, and fisheries enforcement. (CMC)

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