The crew of the USCGC Northland (WMEC 904) offloaded approximately 5,363 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $101 million in Port Everglades, Friday, along with 11 suspected smugglers who were apprehended to face prosecution in federal court by the Department of Justice.
The drugs were interdicted, during five separate cases, in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea by crews from:
- Royal Netherlands Navy Ship HNLMS Holland (P840), embarked USCG Law Enforcement Detachment 408 and a USCG Helicopter Interdiction Squadron helicopter
- U.S. Navy ships USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Wichita (LCS 13), and embarked USCG Law Enforcement Detachments 104 and 107
- USCGC Valiant (WMEC 621)
- USCGC Venturous (WMEC 625) and embarked USCG Helicopter Interdiction Squadron helicopter
“We are proud of the drug seizures the crews of our sister ships recently completed. We are honored to share a role in helping remove narcotics from U.S. streets and delivering justice to those attempting to bring illicit substances to U.S. shores,” said Cmdr. Andrew Dennelly, commanding officer of Northland. “We are always ready to protect those on the sea, protect America from threats delivered by the sea, and protect the sea itself.”
Northland’s 57-day patrol of the Windward Passage, Old Bahama Channel and South Florida Straits primarily focused on deterring dangerous and irregular maritime migration.
Initially, a suspect vessel is detected and monitored by allied, military, or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West. Once an interdiction becomes imminent, the law enforcement phase of the operation begins, and control of the operation shifts to the U.S. Coast Guard during throughout this phase. Interdictions in the Caribbean Sea are performed by members of the U.S. Coast Guard under the authority and control of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, headquartered in Miami.
Northland is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter. The cutter’s primary missions include law enforcement, search and rescue, drug interdiction, fisheries enforcement, migrant interdiction, homeland security and defense operations and international training. Northland patrols the offshore waters from Maine to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.