In a significant victory for law enforcement and national security, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has seized illegal narcotics worth approximately $448 million. The USCG Cutter James offloaded the drugs at Port Everglades in South Florida on Thursday.
These drugs were intercepted during 13 different operations in the international waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The operations involved the USCG cutters James, Thetis, Vigilant, and Valiant, along with the Joint Interagency Task Force South and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircrew.
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Vice Admiral Kevin Lunday, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, stated, “This offload is about national security. It represents one part of a very large and strong interagency team that works closely with our allies and international partners to interdict maritime smuggling of dangerous and illegal drugs into the United States.”
The USCG Cutter James crew worked tirelessly over 113 days to support the mission. Capt. Donald Terkanian, commanding officer of James, said, “We cannot do this mission alone. We appreciate the immense support and dedication from our interagency and international partners.”
The partners in this operation included the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Navy, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and various allied military forces and international agencies.
Port Everglades, where the drugs were offloaded, is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world and a top container port in Florida. It’s also a crucial cargo facility in the U.S. The authorities will destroy the confiscated drugs.
Vice Admiral Lunday emphasized the importance of the operation, stating, “Most people are impacted by illegal drugs in the U.S. or at least know someone who suffers from drug addiction and its negative effects on one’s life.”
This operation is part of a larger fight against drug cartels in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It requires a unified effort from various agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied militaries and international partner agencies.
The fight against drug cartels is not just about the drugs themselves, but it’s also about protecting the national security of the United States. These efforts represent a significant commitment to safeguarding our country from the dangers posed by illegal narcotics and the criminal organizations that traffic them.
The success of these operations demonstrates the dedication and hard work of the men and women who serve in our law enforcement and military agencies. Their efforts to protect our nation and its citizens should be commended.