US Coast Guard offloads 12.4 tons of cocaine in Florida

The US Coast Guard offloaded close to 12.4 tons of cocaine in Port Everglades, Florida, on December 7.

The drugs were offloaded by the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Escanaba but are the result of several interdictions in international waters off the Eastern Pacific Ocean between mid-October and late November.

The drugs are worth an estimated $378 million.

In addition to US Coast Guard cutters, Royal Canadian Navy coastal defense vessel HMCS Nanaimo with an embarked Coast Guard law enforcement detachment (LEDET) team contributed to the haul.

“I am extremely proud of the professionalism and tireless dedication of the crew of Escanaba,” said Cmdr. Michael Turdo, commanding officer of the cutter Escanaba. “Escanaba seized over 6 tons of cocaine worth an estimated $202 million during the interdiction of five suspected drug smuggling vessels.”

The Coast Guard, along with US and allied partner agencies, has increased its presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy. During at-sea interdictions of these known drug transit zones, a suspect vessel is initially located and tracked by allied military or law enforcement personnel. The interdictions, including the actual boarding, are led and conducted by US Coast Guard personnel. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the 11th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Alameda, California.