The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro (WMSL 755) offloaded nearly 20,000 pounds of cocaine Monday seized from known drug-transit zones of the Eastern Pacific Ocean worth approximately $338 million.
Eight interdictions were made between mid-November and mid-January by the joint efforts of the following four separate Coast Guard cutter crews:
- Thetis (WMEC 910) was responsible for two case seizing 6,830 pounds
- Resolute (WMEC 620) was responsible for one case seizing 1,951 pounds
- Tampa (WMEC 902) was responsible for two cases seizing 4,270 pounds
- Munro (WMSL 755) was responsible for three cases seizing 6,680 pounds
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, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Panama Express Strike Force, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations. The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions of these cases by U.S. Attorneys in districts within Florida and Texas.
“By disrupting the profits of these cartels, we are reducing their effectiveness and helping our partner nations maintain their stability,” said Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, the 11th Coast Guard District commander. “These efforts also provide invaluable information to us that we can then use to stop these drugs further up the supply chain before they begin these dangerous routes at sea.”
These interdictions were in support of Campaign Martillo, a regional initiative targeting illicit trafficking that threatens security and prosperity at the national, regional, and international levels. 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. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.
“The men and women of the United States Coast Guard have made America a safer place to live,” said David King, the director for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HITDA) program. “This cocaine will never make it into our homes, schools and communities to fuel violent crime, addiction and death.”
The Thetis is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West. The Resolute is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Tampa is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia. The Munro is a 418-foot national security cutter homeported in Alameda.