US, British forces report multi-million dollar drug haul from Caribbean Sea, Pacific Ocean

The United States Coast Guard says that crew members from its Cutter Harriet Lane have offloaded about 12,100 pounds of cocaine and about 5,759 pounds of marijuana, worth a combined estimate of US$216 million, seized in drug interdictions in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

The US Coast Guard said the drugs, unloaded on Thursday at Port Everglades in Florida, were interdicted in 12 separate law enforcement cases by two Coast Guard vessels, three US Navy vessels and two British Royal Navy vessels during a two-week period spanning August 27 – September 8.

The Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane carried out three interdictions in the Eastern Pacific, seizing about 3,882 pounds of cocaine and about 2,527 pounds of marijuana.

The British naval vessel HMS Medway with an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment carried out two interdictions in the Caribbean Sea, seizing about 1,433 pounds of cocaine, the US Coast Guard said.

It said the British Naval vessel RFA Argus, with an embarked Coast Guard LEDET, carried out one interdiction in the Caribbean Sea, seizing about 789 pounds of cocaine.

The US Coast Guard also said that the USS Kidd (DDG-100), with an embarked Coast Guard LEDET, recovered about 145 pounds of cocaine while operating in the Caribbean Sea.

In addition, the US Coast Guard said the USS Zephyr (PC-8), with an embarked Coast Guard LEDET, recovered about 12 pounds of marijuana while operating in the Caribbean Sea.

“This large amount of drugs was seized in just a short 13-day span shows just how serious the issue is,” said Captain Dorothy Hernaez, commanding officer of the Cutter Harriet Lane.

“I am very proud of the efforts by not only the Harriet Lane crew but also all the other Coast Guard, Navy and British Royal Navy assets involved in the interdictions,” she added. “These crews overcame significant challenges related to COVID-19 to remain both operational and effective in order to keep these drugs off our streets.”

The US Coast Guard said its Western Hemisphere Strategy assigns three specific priorities of combatting networks, securing borders and safeguarding commerce.

To achieve success in these priorities, the US Coast Guard said it “continuously strives for close coordination between partnering naval assets as well as its own”.

“Effective communication, persistence and teamwork are among many characteristics that contribute to mission success,” it said. “The diversity of the assets that contributed to these interdictions demonstrates the effectiveness of the high level of cooperation between the US Coast Guard, the US Navy and British Royal Navy.”

The US Coast Guard said it “remains committed to the enhancement of counter-narcotic operations throughout the maritime domain to diminish transnational threats and maximize our country’s security”.

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