PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. – Crewmembers of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Vigilant offloaded illegal narcotics worth an estimated $236 million on Wednesday in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
The crew offloaded more than 12,000 pounds of cocaine and more than 5,000 pounds of marijuana following a 45-day patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. An embarked U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment followed the ship’s crew, allowing authorities to perform law enforcement operations in international waters.
The drugs were seized by crews of the Vigilant, USCGC Tampa, and the Royal Canadian Navy in international waters off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America.
17 suspected drug traffickers were arrested.
Numerous U.S. and partner nation agencies work together to combat transnational organized crime.
“The successful interdiction of over 17,000 pounds of illegal narcotics and the apprehension of 17 suspected traffickers are the result of tremendous teamwork,” said Commander Jay Guyer, commanding officer of the Vigilant. “We are thankful for coordinated efforts across the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, Customs and Border Protection, as well as our international partners from Canada and throughout Central and South America.”
Vigilant patrols the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean, performing counter-drug operations, migrant interdiction operations, search and rescue, and fisheries enforcement.