U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian military seize record $1.4 billion in illicit drugs
A member of the US Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy dumped a record heap of drug seizures in Port Everglades Thursday morning.
The drugs seized are valued at more than $ 1.4 billion - note the "b" - and left the docks hanging under the weight of about 59,700 pounds of cocaine and 1,430 pounds of marijuana, according to Coast Guard Vice Admiral Steven Poulin.
"Yesterday was the US Coast Guard's 231st birthday - since August 4, 1790 - and we can't think of a better way to celebrate that birthday today with the crew of Cutter James and the crew, the [Canadian ship] Shawinigan, Poulin said as he shared docking space with transport and local media in Fort Lauderdale.
"The largest in Coast Guard history," he said, and also shared credits with agencies such as the Homeland Security, DEA, FBI, and United States Attorney's Office.
The amount of drugs seized? "Double the patrol in the fall of 2020," said Cutter James' commanding officer, Captain Todd Vance.
A pallet of seized drugs will be moved from the deck of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James to Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, on August 5, 2021. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian military held a drug shipment containing approximately 59,700 pounds of cocaine and 1,430 pounds of marijuana from multiple bans in the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean.
The drug seizures represent about 20 different prohibition events in the waters of the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific and were involved in the work of about 150 seafarers from the United States and Canada.
"Central, South America and the Caribbean are what we call our neighborhood," said Lieutenant General Andrew Croft, deputy military commander of the US Southern Command. "Of the 31 nations in this neighborhood, the greatest threats to their security are transnational criminal organizations, generating over $ 60 billion annually in illegal activity - 89% of which can be traced back to what you see in front of you."
South Florida and other US cities are threatened by the "evils of drug trafficking," added Vance and Croft.
"We lost 92,000 Americans to drug overdoses last year," said Croft. "This is an effort that we will continue to focus on and pursue."
Members of the crew of the Canadian ship HMCS Shawinigan in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. On Thursday, August 5, 2021. The US Coast Guard crew and crews discharged approximately 59,700 pounds of cocaine and 1,430 pounds of marijuana from several Eastern Pacific and Caribbean seas Prohibitions.
Also at the media event: Canadian Defense Attaché, Maj. Paul Ormsby and Cmdr. Bill Sanson, the commanding officer of HMCS Shawinigan of the Canadian Navy.
"Banning these drugs helps bring hope and stability to the Western Hemisphere and other nations committed to the rule of law," Poulin said.
The seized drugs are handed over to cross-agency teams. The US Attorney's Office takes on the criminal prosecution of those arrested and accused.
The assembled group in Port Everglades did not want to give details of the 20 individual events, citing ongoing investigations.
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