Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton offloads more than 20,000 pounds of illegal drugs
The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton crew offloaded more than 18,700 pounds of cocaine, nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana and 15 gallons of liquefied cocaine, all worth more than an estimate $324 million Friday at Port Everglades.
The drugs were interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, including contraband seized and recovered during 15 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels by nine American and Canadian ships.
Numerous U.S. 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 drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys in districts across the nation.
During at-sea interdictions, 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 Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District, headquartered in Alameda, California. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The cutter Hamilton is a 418-foot national security cutter home ported in Charleston, South Carolina. The cutters Legare and Tampa are a 270-foot medium endurance cutter home ported in Portsmouth, Virginia. The cutter Mohawk is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter home ported in Key West, Florida. The cutter Tahoma is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter home ported in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The cutter Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter home ported in Port Canaveral, Florida. The cutter Steadfast is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter home ported in Warrenton, Oregon. The USS Tornado is a 179-foot Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship home ported in Jacksonville, Florida. The HMCS Nanaimo is a 181-foot Royal Canadian Navy Kingston-class coastal defence vessel home ported at the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, in British Colombia, Canada.