Coast Guard Drug Seizures off to Record Start – AGAIN

One of the main duties of the US Coast Guard is protecting our shores from smugglers and business has been good. Despite a lax attitude towards illegal substances by many corners of society the Coast Guard continued to perform this duty with vigor and seized a record number of drugs in 2017. Based on the seizures made thus far 2018 appears to be off to a similar start.

2017 saw one record-setting drug bust after another.

April – USCGC Boutwell offloaded over 14 tons of cocaine, with a street value of $424 million following joint operations in the Pacific with both the U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Navy
July- Coast Guard crews seized a total of $181 million worth of cocaine in a single bust, a service record.

September- four Coast Guard Cutters seized 50,550 pounds of cocaine and heroin, with a street value of $679.3 million at Alameda’s Tenth Avenue Terminal.

By year’s end Coast Guard units nationwide had seized over $6 billion in illegal drugs and turned over almost 600 suspected traffickers to the Department of Justice. These seizures equate to roughly 455,000 lbs of cocaine alone and surpass the previous record, set in 2016, of 443,000 lbs.

2018 does not look like it will be much quieter for Coast Guard crews. Although it is too early to tell if 2018 will be responsible for a new record, it is off to a strong start.

January- crews offloaded more than 23 tons of seized cocaine at a San Diego dock, with a value of almost $721 million.

February- Another 7 tons of cocaine, worth an estimated $190 million, were offloaded at Port Everglades.

While the interdiction of smugglers is a core duty of the Coast Guard, and one which can be traced back to the original Revenue Cutter Service, it is only one of a growing number of responsibilities the service bares. In 2017 many of the same units involved in these high-level operations were also tasked with performing live saving patrols, search & rescue operations and numerous humanitarian operations as well. Thousands of service members joined others from numerous Federal agencies responding to the hurricanes that struck Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas.

Although the Coast Guard may be the smallest service, they perform many big jobs and often without the fiscal or political support they deserve or even need. They continue to get the job done. Next time you see a Coastie have the urge to say “Puddle Pirate” maybe you should say “Thank you” instead.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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