US Coast Guard Seized Illegal Drugs Worth Nearly $500 Million

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

John Oyewale Contributor
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The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) crew aboard the USCG Cutter James offloaded illegal narcotics worth approximately $448 million in Port Everglades, South Florida on Thursday.

The drugs were intercepted in 13 different instances in the international waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea through a multi-organ effort involving USCG cutters James, Thetis, Vigilant and Valiant, as well as the Joint Interagency Task Force South and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircrew, among others, per a U.S. Coast Guard 7th District statement.

“This offload is about national security. It represents one part of a very large and strong interagency team that works closely with our allies and international partners to interdict maritime smuggling of dangerous and illegal drugs into the United States,” said Vice Admiral Kevin Lunday, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area, per the statement.

The crew aboard the James “worked round the clock” over 113 days to support the mission, Capt. Donald Terkanian, commanding officer of James, said, per the statement. “That being said, we cannot do this mission alone. We appreciate the immense support and dedication from our interagency and international partners that join us here today,” he added. (RELATED: Coast Guard Seizes $158 Million In Drugs From Three Ships In The Pacific Ocean)

The partners in the operation against drug cartels in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea included the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Navy, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and allied military forces and international agencies, the statement acknowledged.

USCG Cutter James crew, however, offloaded a much larger, record-setting haul at Port Everglades in February 2022, per a separate statement. The drugs, interdicted in the same international waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, were worth approximately $1.06 billion, per the statement.