Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton offloads $504 million in drugs

The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s (WMSL 753) crew poses with approximately 26,250 pounds of cocaine and 3,700 pounds of marijuana at Port Everglades, Florida, Nov. 22, 2021. The largest drug interdiction in the ship’s history. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez)

The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s (WMSL 753) crew poses with approximately 26,250 pounds of cocaine and 3,700 pounds of marijuana at Port Everglades, Florida, Nov. 22, 2021.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez)

MIAMI— Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s crew offloaded approximately 26,250 pounds of cocaine and 3,700 pounds of marijuana worth approximately $504 million, Monday, at Port Everglades, which is the largest drug interdiction in the ship’s history.

The Coast Guard’s strong international relationships, with key partners like Canada along with our specialized capabilities and unmatched authorities, allow for a unity of effort to disrupt transnational crime organizations, which threaten America and our partner nations.

The drugs were interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, including contraband seized and recovered during eight interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels by three American and Canadian ships:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton
  • Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant
  • HMCS Harry DeWolf

“I could not be prouder of this crew and their determination to keeping more than 26,000 pounds of cocaine from reaching the shores of Central and North America,” said Capt. Matthew Brown, commanding officer Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton. “It has been a dynamic two and half months for this ship with some very difficult law enforcement cases. But at the core of these capabilities is a true culture of trust and respect for each other which enabled the safe apprehension of 14 suspected traffickers. Each one of our cases represented the teamwork and partnerships not only domestically but with our partners in the Western Hemisphere.”

Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations. The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys in districts across the nation.

During at-sea interdictions, a suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District, headquartered in Alameda, California. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District, headquartered in Alameda, California, and the law enforcement phase of operations in the Caribbean is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 7th District, headquartered in Miami. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton is a 418-foot national security cutter homeported in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Florida.
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf is a 340-foot Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) home ported in Halifax, Canada.

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