MIAMI, United States [CMC] – The United States Coast Guard has reported that crew members of the Reliance-class Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless have offloaded more than US$148 million of illegal narcotics at Base Miami Beach from three separate interdictions in the Caribbean Sea in the past two weeks.
It said the Wave-class Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight crew also seized about 1,200 pounds of cocaine. Following the three interdictions, nine suspected drug smugglers from the Dominican Republic and Columbia were apprehended.
According to the coast guard, the Sentinel-class Coast Guard Cutter William Trump and the crew of the offshore patrol vessel, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Holland seized about 6,700 pounds of cocaine in two interdictions.
The US Attorney’s Offices for the District of Puerto Rico, Southern District of Florida, and the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the cases.
“These successful interdictions are the result of professional partnerships between the US Coast Guard, RFA Wave Knight, and HNLMS Holland crews,” said Hansel Pintos, US Coast Guard Seventh District spokesperson.
“The Coast Guard’s strong international partnerships, counter threats in the maritime domain, protect each of our countries from transnational organised crime, and work to stabilise and promote good governance in the region,” Pintos added.
The US Coast Guard said this effort is part of an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces [OCDETF] operation.
It said OCDETF “identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organisations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.
“The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases, from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and US Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation,” the US Coast Guard said.
It said a suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored during at-sea interdictions by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida.
The US Coast Guard said the law enforcement phase of operations in the Caribbean Sea is conducted under the authority of the US Coast Guard Seventh District, headquartered in Miami.