Last week, the crew of the US Coast Guard’s cutter USCGC Legare (WMEC 912) offloaded approximately 24,700 pounds of cocaine and 3,892 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $475 million, at Base Miami Beach.
The drugs were interdicted in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Eastern Pacific Ocean by crews from HNLMS Groningen (P843) of the Royal Netherlands Navy and embarked US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 101, US Navy ship’s USS Billings (LCS 15) and embarked USCG LEDET 401, US Coast Guard cutters James (WMSL 754) and Legare (WMEC 912).
Legare is a 270-foot (82.2 meters) Famous-class medium endurance cutter stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia. Legare’s missions include law enforcement, search and rescue, protection of living marine resources, homeland security and defence operations, international training, and humanitarian operations.
The vessel patrols the offshore waters from Maine to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern Pacific, and the Caribbean.
Detecting and interdicting illegal drug traffickers on the high seas involves significant interagency and international coordination.
The Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Florida conducts detection and monitoring of aerial and maritime transit of illegal drugs.
Maritime interdiction of illicit smuggling activity in the Caribbean Sea is coordinated by the Seventh Coast Guard District, headquartered in Miami. The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard also coordinates maritime interdiction of illicit smuggling activity with deployed Royal Netherlands Navy ships and their embarked Dutch Fleet Marine Corps squadrons and US Coast Guard LEDETs in the Eastern Caribbean Sea near the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
Maritime interdiction of illicit smuggling activity in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is coordinated by the Eleventh Coast Guard District, headquartered in Alameda, California.
The U.S. Navy and allied foreign ships conduct law enforcement missions under the authority of embarked Coast Guard LEDETs from Tactical Law Enforcement Teams based in Miami and San Diego.
“Through the coordinated efforts of the Legare, the LEDETs, HNLMS Groningen, CGC James, and the USS Billings crews, we significantly contributed to the counter-drug mission and the dismantling of transnational criminal organizations. The drugs seized through this coordinated effort will result in significantly fewer drug-related overdoses,” said Cdr. Jeremy M. Greenwood, commanding officer of Legare.