Coast Guard offloads $498 million worth of cocaine in south Florida

18 1/2 tons of cocaine seized during 20 interdictions at sea


PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday offloaded about 18 1/2 tons of cocaine at Port Everglades.

Coast Guard officials said the drugs were seized in international waters off the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 20 separate interdictions by the Coast Guard, Royal Canadian naval crews and the Coast Guard's interagency partners.

"The 18.5 tons of seized cocaine coming off our decks today is the product of partnerships and the collaboration of U.S. Southern Command, Joint Interagency Task Force-South, the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State and Justice, the Canadian Navy and many of our international maritime service partners," said Capt. Scott Clendenin, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton. 


"Building international partnerships is at the heart of this effort. No one nation alone can prevent the deleterious impact of drug smuggling on our borders and on the region as a whole. Our efforts to interdict modern maritime smugglers involves intricately choreographed actions of joint, interagency and international operations centers, aircraft and vessels operating in concert against stealthy and well-funded international criminal smuggling organizations."

The seized drugs have an estimated wholesale value of $498 million.

The Coast Guard and its ally partners have increased their presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America.

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