(CMR) There has been a massive disruption in drug smuggling in the Eastern Caribbean.
The US Coast Guard said on Friday that it partnered with several other agencies to interdict seven suspected drug smuggling vessels over 10 days near the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
More than 3,700 pounds of cocaine, worth more than $64 million, was seized during the operation, and 19 suspected drug smugglers were arrested.
Rear Admiral Eric C. Jones, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, said:
“Seven successful drug smuggling ventures disrupted in10 days is a clear example of the mission-ready team we have here in the Seventh District's area of responsibility. I am proud of the diverse Coast Guard teams that enable us to deliver mission excellence anytime, anywhere.”
He said disruption in the drug smuggling operations resulted from the collective work between numerous agencies, including the US Navy, CBP Air and Marine Operations, and the Dutch Caribbean coast guard.
On April 1, US Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives.
The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.
The US Coast Guard said the fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea required unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys Offices.
The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Caribbean Sea is conducted under the Coast Guard 7th District's authority, headquartered in Miami, Florida.
The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard members.
The Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) is a multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force group operating in the District of Puerto Rico focusing on Caribbean and South American-based Transnational Criminal Organizations involved in the maritime and air smuggling shipments of narcotics from Puerto Rico to the Continental US and the laundering of drug proceeds using bulk cash smuggling and sophisticated laundering activities.