Nineteen packages of marijuana float near Naval Station Guantanamo Bay after being jettisoned off a small boat in June 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

PSU 309, Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant team up to interdict illegal drugs

Coast Guard service members from Port Security Unit 309 and Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant often conduct missions very different from each other. Despite having different missions, these units often operate jointly with other Coast Guard assets and with international partners. In early June, members from both units collaborated to interdict illegal drugs approximately one mile from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay’s shoreline.


The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Legare stands on the flight deck of the cutter next to approximately $390 million total wholesale in seized cocaine and marijuana at Port Everglades, Fla., April 24, 2018. The drugs were interdicted off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America by multiple U.S. Coast Guard cutters and Canadian Naval vessels. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Coast Guard Cutter Legare

The U.S. Coast Guard and Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships conducted 17 separate interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America seizing approximately $390 million in cocaine and marijuana.


Coast Guard breaks record for cocaine seizures

Last week, crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton offloaded 50,550 pounds of cocaine and heroin worth more than $679 million wholesale, which marks a record-breaking year in cocaine seizures for the service. The drugs were seized in 25 different interdictions in the Eastern Pacific Ocean beginning in early August.


Protecting America: Seizure of 16 tons of cocaine worth estimated $420 million

Each and every day, the Coast Guard combats the illicit drug trade in a six-million square mile area, including the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific. Cocaine seizures prevent drugs from reaching America’s streets, while delivering a blow to the wallet and influence of transnational organized crime groups. Without the Coast Guard and its partners, hundreds of millions of dollars would flow past U.S. borders and fuel these crime-terror-insurgency organizations.


Shown here is the the Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award an interagency team received during a ceremony at U.S. Attorney's Office Middle District of Florida, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2016 for their efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking. The U.S. Attorney's Office Middle District of Florida and Operation Panama Express South (PANEX) form an interagency team that has investigated and prosecuted more than 60 cases from one of the most successful fiscal years in cocaine removal for the Coast Guard, which ran from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael De Nyse

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Tampa-based U.S. prosecutors, investigators

It would seem like once a Coast Guard crew interdicts illegal narcotics, the case is over, but that’s far from the truth. After the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton took positive control of a semi-submersible, July 6, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida and Operation Panama Express South investigated and prosecuted the drug traffickers. This Distinguished Public Service Award honors some of the highest levels of interagency coordination and cooperation we’ve seen across myriad U.S. and international entities in our nation’s whole-of-government effort to eradicate transnational organized crime networks.


In the zone: A crew’s determination ‘over the horizon’ part 2

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton interdicts 8.4 tons of uncut cocaine after hunting a drug smuggling semi-submersible in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, July 18, 2015. Waiting. Watching. Always Ready.


In the zone: A crew’s determination ‘over the horizon’ Part 1

Cocaine seizures prevent drugs from reaching America’s streets, but they also deliver a blow to the wallet and influence of transnational organized crime groups. Without the Coast Guard and its partners, hundreds of millions of dollars would flow past U.S. borders and fuel these crime-terror-insurgency organizations.


225 Years of Service to Nation

225 years of Service to Nation: Drug interdiction

Each and every day, the Coast Guard combats the illicit drug trade in a six-million square mile area, including the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific. In addition to deterrence, Coast Guard drug interdiction accounts for nearly 52% of all U.S. government seizures of cocaine each year.


In the Zone: 15 minutes to launch

In the Zone: 15 minutes to launch

The Coast Guard maintains a constant presence in the Pacific and Caribbean– two key transit areas with known drug trafficking routes. Since the early 1970s, 378-foot cutters like the Mellon have been instrumental in the detection and interdiction of smugglers and narcotics on the high seas.


Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell anchored off the coast of Bimini, known as the "Gateway to the Bahamas." U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell visits “Gateway to the Bahamas”

With eight of the top 10 most violent nations residing in the Western Hemisphere and transnational organized crime networks acting as non-state actors, relationships between America’s military services and law enforcement agencies with their counterparts throughout the region are more important than ever. And, every Coast Guard port call is an opportunity to build and nurture those critical partnerships.


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