On Thursday, the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton offloaded about 11,500 pounds of cocaine and 17,000 pounds of marijuana at Port Everglades, Floriday. The combined haul was intercepted and seized by the crews of four vessels, including two U.S. Navy surface combatants, and its total value is in the range of $230 million.
The drugs were intercepted in the Eastern Pacific - off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America - and in the Caribbean. The delivery is the result of 13 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels.
The cutter Hamilton was responsible for the majority of the results with nine interdictions, 9,700 pounds of cocaine and 9,000 pounds of marijuana in her holds.
The cutter Resolute conducted one interdiction, seizing about 1,100 pounds of marijuana.
The destroyer USS Nitze with an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team was responsible for two interdictions, seizing about 1,700 pounds of cocaine and 6,100 pounds of marijuana.
The USS Shamal crew with an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team was responsible for one interdiction, seizing about 800 pounds of marijuana.
"We are proud to support the [White House] national security strategy by keeping illegal drugs off American streets," said Capt. Timothy Cronin, commanding officer of the Hamilton. "I am extremely proud of this crew as they sailed short-handed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and delivered tremendous results."
U.S. Southern Command stepped up its anti-narcotics efforts in April, drawing additional assets from the U.S. Navy. Multiple American and foreign partner agencies participate in the long-running operation to intercept narcotics smugglers off South and Central America, particularly small craft carrying lucrative Colombian cocaine.
Recent research indicates that most of the cocaine headed north from Colombia is ultimately bound for Europe and other overseas markets, where prices are higher than in the United States. Central American container ports like Colon serve as transshipment hubs for these cargoes, and the majority of the northbound trafficking across the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific may be aimed primarily at moving cocaine closer to these seaports - not to the U.S. border.
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