Coast Guard Cutter James offloads $1.06 billion in illegal narcotics

The Coast Guard Cutter James' (WMSL 754) crew offloaded approximately 54,500 pounds of cocaine and 15,800 pounds of marijuana, worth approximately $1.06 billion, Feb. 17, 2022, in Port Everglades, Florida. The ship’s crew set new records during their 90-day patrol for the largest single cocaine interdiction at 10,915 pounds, worth $206.4 million, and the largest single marijuana interdiction at 3,962 pounds, worth $3.59 million, which is the greatest amount of contraband interdicted during an Eastern Pacific patrol. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez).

The Coast Guard Cutter James’ crew offloaded approximately 54,500 pounds of cocaine and 15,800 pounds of marijuana, worth approximately $1.06 billion, Feb. 17, 2022, in Port Everglades, Florida.  (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Hernandez).

MIAMI — Coast Guard Cutter James’ crew offloaded approximately 54,500 pounds of cocaine and 15,800 pounds of marijuana, worth approximately $1.06 billion, Thursday, at Port Everglades.

The ship’s crew set new records during their 90-day patrol for the largest single cocaine interdiction at 10,915 pounds, worth $206.4 million, and the largest single marijuana interdiction at 3,962 pounds, worth $3.59 million, which is the greatest amount of contraband interdicted during an Eastern Pacific patrol.

The Coast Guard’s strong international relationships, specialized capabilities and unmatched authorities, allowed for a unity of effort to disrupt transnational criminal organizations.

The drugs were interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea by crews from:

  • Coast Guard Station San Juan
  • Coast Guard Cutter James
  • His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Holland
  • Coast Guard Cutter Stone
  • Coast Guard Cutter Griesser
  • USS Milwaukee
  • Coast Guard Cutter Northland
  • Coast Guard Cutter Diligence
  • Coast Guard Cutter Margaret Norvell

“The best part of my job is being able to stand here at the end of a patrol and provide visibility on the incredible efforts from crewmembers who have volunteered for the challenging and dangerous duties to keep our shores safe,” said Capt. Todd Vance, the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter James. “Each interdiction is a complex evolution and no two interdictions are the same. In fact, the James’ crew conducted simultaneous interdictions of two go-fast vessels 55 miles apart this patrol, showcasing their dedication and professional execution of the counter-drug mission.”

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 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 James is a 418-foot national security cutter homeported in Charleston, South Carolina.

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