CORONADO, Calif. ― Vice President Mike Pence, Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James W. Carroll, Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon and Vice Admiral Linda Fagan, commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area, attended a United States Coast Guard drug offload July 11 at Naval Base Coronado.
Agents with the DEA, FBI, Customs and Border Protection and the crew of the USCG Cutter Munro offloaded more than 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana, worth a combined estimated $569 million, which was seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The drugs represent 14 separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions and disruptions off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by three USCG cutters between May and July 2019.
“These seizures are the result of the continued, outstanding collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Coast Guard, our federal law enforcement partners and our foreign law enforcement and naval partners, to aggressively attack transnational drug trafficking organizations and their worldwide maritime transportation networks,” Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon said. “The drugs that were off loaded demonstrate not just the strength of our partnerships with the Coast Guard and federal and foreign law enforcement agencies, but also demonstrate the great success we achieve, and will continue to achieve, working together to attack these deadly transnational criminals.”
Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security cooperate in the effort to combat transnational organized crime.
The DEA, USCG, Navy, FBI, CBP 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 requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by U.S. Attorney’s Offices 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, Fla. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the 11th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Alameda, Calif. The interdictions, including the actual boarding, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.