MIAMI —The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton (WMSL 753) crew offloaded approximately 11,500 pounds of cocaine and approximately 17,000 pounds of marijuana, Thursday, worth more than $228 million.
The drugs were interdicted in the international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, and in the Caribbean Sea. Coast Guard cutters and U.S. Navy ships seized and recovered contraband during 13 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels:
- The cutter Hamilton crew was responsible for nine interdictions, seizing approximately 9,700 pounds of cocaine and 9,000 pounds of marijuana.
- The cutter Resolute (WMEC 620) crew was responsible for one interdiction, seizing approximately 1,100 pounds of marijuana.
- The USS Nitze (DDG 94) crew with embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team 406 was responsible for two interdictions seizing approximately 1,700 pounds of cocaine and approximately 6,100 pounds of marijuana.
- The USS Shamal crew with an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team 109 was responsible for one interdiction, seizing approximately 800 pounds of marijuana.
“We are proud to support the President’s national security strategy by keeping illegal drugs off American streets,” said Capt. Timothy Cronin, commanding officer of the Hamilton. “I am extremely proud of this crew as they sailed short-handed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and delivered tremendous results.”
On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives. 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. Attorney 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 Hamilton is a 418-foot national security cutter homeported in Charleston, South Carolina. The Resolute is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter home-ported in St. Petersburg, Florida. The USS Nitze is a 510-foot Arleigh Burke-class destroyer homeported in Norfolk, Virginia. The USS Shamal is 179-foot patrol coastal ship homeported in Jacksonville, Florida.