Coast Guard Offloads More Than 18 Tons of Cocaine in Port Everglades

This image made available by the U.S. Coast Guard shows members of the media gathered around pallets of seized cocaine at a news conference Thursday

Coast Guard Offloads More Than 18 Tons of Cocaine in Port Everglades

The recently seized drugs were brought to Port Everglades by the cutter Hamilton.

"The 18.5 tons of seized cocaine coming off our decks today is the product of partnerships and the collaboration of U.S. Southern Command, Joint Interagency Task Force-South, the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State and Justice, the Canadian Navy and many of our worldwide maritime service partners", said Capt. Scott Clendenin, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton.

The drugs were intercepted off the coasts of Central and South America by six Coast Guard cutters and a Royal Canadian ship sailing with a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment team.

With an estimated value of $498 million, the haul would be worth about $29,000 a kilo. The fight against transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys in California, on the East Coast, and in the Caribbean.

This is the second large-scale seizure of illicit narcotics in as many months. Joint operations lead to the interdiction of over 18.5 tons of contraband.

The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday offloaded about 18 1/2 tons of cocaine at Port Everglades.

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Next stop for all the cocaine unloaded Thursday?

Contraband captured by the US Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton during a patrol.

Military or law enforcement agencies typically track and locate suspected vessels and then U.S. Coast Guardsmen actually board the vehicles and conduct seizures, the Coast Guard said.

The offload represents 20 separate, suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions by the Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Naval crews and its interagency partners.

In March, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter James unloaded 16 tons of cocaine seized in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

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