In the Zone: Coast Guard Counter Drug 101

The name “Coast Guard” can be a little deceiving. Many people don’t realize Coast Guardsmen are deployed around the world conducting a variety of military, law enforcement, regulatory and humanitarian missions. One of its most significant expeditionary missions is counter narcotics in the Western Hemisphere; more specifically, stopping drug smugglers in the “drug transit zones” of the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin.

Focus on the Western Hemisphere: Unity of Effort – strong partnerships breed success

The U.S. Coast Guard must be in lock-step with our Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Justice, Department of Defense and other interagency and international partners to be successful in “combating networks” – the first priority of the Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy. These partnerships were at the forefront as The Interdiction Committee engaged with stakeholders in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia and Honduras last week.

Panga pursuit

The vigilance and dedication of law enforcement crews was seen firsthand off the coast of San Diego as U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection crews worked together to disrupt a drug smuggling attempt approximately 90 miles southwest of San Diego. After a CBP aircraft detected the panga with two people aboard, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Sector San Diego, a 45-foot response boat from Station San Diego and the patrol boat Coast Guard Cutter Haddock were dispatched to intercept the panga.

Boat escort

Safe haven from Hurricane Ingrid

In late September, Hurricane Ingrid prompted a fleet of 179 Mexican shrimp boats to request shelter in the port of Brownsville until it was safe to return to Mexican waters. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection crews boarded each of the vessels, taking account of crew numbers and any pollution concerns that could adversely effect the port. This process took approximately 18 hours.

Largest drug seizure in the 1st Coast Guard District’s history

If you speak with Coast Guardsmen from the 1st Coast Guard District – stretching from the Canadian border in Maine to northern New Jersey – about the missions they routinely perform, you will likely get a standard answer from just about every member: search and rescue, recreational boating safety, aids to navigation, ports waterways and coastal security, living marine resource enforcement and ice breaking. But if you ask the crew underway aboard Coast Guard Cutter Dependable last week, they would answer counter drug operations.

Coast Guard Cutter Mustang

Week in the life of the Coast Guard: Tuesday

Since 1790 the Coast Guard has safeguarded our nation’s maritime interests, providing a 24/7 presence along America’s rivers, ports, coastline and on the high seas. But while the Coast Guard’s presence and impact is regional, national and international, our operations are often out of sight. Until now.

BMCS Horne memorial graphic

Loss of BMCS Terrell Horne III

BMC Horne stood the watch on the front lines of Coast Guard operations throughout his nearly 14 years of active duty. He previously served at Coast Guard Stations Emerald Isle, Humboldt Bay and Charleston, and also sailed aboard the CGC DALLAS. Throughout his Coast Guard service, BMC Horne’s professionalism and commitment, like those before him, ensured that we were always ready to answer the nation’s call.

Crew aboard Key Biscayne

On patrol in the Florida Straits

Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne is a 110-foot patrol boat based out of Key West, Fla., tasked with patrolling one of the Coast Guard’s most challenging operational areas – the Florida Straits. On any given day, Key Biscayne may be required to conduct a variety of missions including protecting living marine resource, enforcing recreational boating safety laws, responding to maritime distress, or interdicting migrants attempting to illegally enter the United States.

Protecting America from threats delivered by sea

For more than 200 years the United States Coast Guard has served as America’s maritime first responder, protecting Americans on the sea, protecting America from threats delivered by sea and protecting the sea itself. Over the centuries and particularly in […]

Red River flood

Red River flood response continues

With contributions from Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm. For the past two weeks, Coast Guard personnel and assets have assisted in a multi-agency response to flooding along the Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota. Since our last update, […]

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