Coast Guard Vice Admiral Kevin Lundy Commander Atlantic Area talks to the media on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, in front of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James following the offload of nearly $500 million in illegal drugs in Port Everglades. The contraband was interdicted by the Coast Guard and partner agencies in the Eastern Pacific Ocean Caribbean Sea. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)
Thousands of pounds of cocaine and marijuana seized during suspected drug smuggling interdictions were offloaded from a U.S. Coast Guard cutter at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale recently.
The grand total of the haul — more than 45,000 pounds — was nearly $500 million, Coast Guard officials said. About 12,400 pounds of marijuana were seized while over 33,000 pounds of cocaine were seized in the 13 different cases in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea, Coast Guard District 7 said in a news release Friday.
Crews aboard Cutters James, Thetis, Vigilant, Valiant, USS Farragut and other U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Coast Guard officials were involved in the interdictions, the release said.
The interdictions were part of investigations by the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, which “identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations” threatening the country, the news release said.
The Coast Guard District 11 in in Alameda, California, oversees the law enforcement of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific while District 7 oversees in the Caribbean. The Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West detects and monitors the transit of illegal drugs by air and on the water.
Officials did not release additional details about the interdictions or the investigations related to them.
Last month, the crew of Cutter Confidence over 12,000 pounds of cocaine in Miami, worth more than $160 million. The drugs were seized in nine different interdictions in the Caribbean Sea, and 17 suspected smugglers were taken into custody, Coast Guard officials said in a Sept. 20 news release.