Coast Guard offloads more than $148 million of illegal narcotics in Miami

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-624) crewmembers wrap a pallet of illegal narcotics at Port Everglades, Florida, Dec. 15, 2021. The Vigilant is homeported in Port Canaveral, Florida. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Estrada)

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-624) crewmembers wrap a pallet of illegal narcotics at Port Everglades, Florida, Dec. 15, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Estrada)

MIAMI — The Reliance-class Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless (WMEC 624) crew offloaded more than $148 million of illegal narcotics at Base Miami Beach, Tuesday, from three separate interdictions in the Caribbean Sea, in the past two weeks.

Following the three interdictions, nine suspected drug smugglers of the Dominican Republic and Colombian nationality were apprehended. The Wave-class Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight (A389) crew seized approximately 1,200 pounds of cocaine. The Sentinel-class Coast Guard Cutter William Trump (WPC 1111) and the offshore patrol vessel His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Holland (P840) crew seized approximately 6,700 pounds of cocaine in two interdictions.

The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Puerto Rico, Southern District of Florida, and the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting these cases.

“These successful interdictions are the result of professional partnerships between the U.S. Coast Guard, RFA Wave Knight, and HNLMS Holland crews,” said Hansel Pintos, U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District spokesperson. “The Coast Guard’s strong international partnerships, counter threats in the maritime domain, protect each of our countries from transnational organized crime, and work to stabilize and promote good governance in the region.”

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

The fight against drug cartels in 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.

A suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored during at-sea interdictions by allied, military, or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida. The law enforcement phase of operations in the Caribbean Sea is conducted under the authority of the U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District, headquartered in Miami. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and performed by the U.S. Coast Guard members.

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