HomeNewsBriefUS Coast Guard Registers Record Drug Haul
BRIEF

US Coast Guard Registers Record Drug Haul

CARIBBEAN / 11 AUG 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

The US Coast Guard seized a record $1 billion worth of heroin and cocaine over a four-month period, providing further evidence that maritime drug trafficking in Latin America is seeing a resurgence. 

The Coast Guard’s record haul included 32 tons of cocaine and two tons of heroin seized during operations that ran from April to July, reported Reuters. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft said more narcotics have been seized off the coast of Mexico and Central America during fiscal year 2015 than in the last three years combined.

The Coast Guard mission involved 23 separate interdictions that led to the arrests of over 215 drug traffickers, reported Fox News. This includes one operation in which the Coast Guard seized a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel transiting over eight tons of cocaine off El Salvador’s Pacific coast. (See US Coast Guard video below).

In an official statement, Vice Admiral Charles W. Ray noted the importance of the Coast Guard’s interdiction efforts in the fight against international drug trafficking and criminal organizations. “Every interception of these semi-submersibles disrupts transnational organized crime networks and helps increase security and stability in the Western Hemisphere,” Ray said.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Coast Guard’s record drug haul points to a growing trend in maritime drug trafficking, as aerial and overland routes become more difficult for smugglers to navigate. Drug flights in Colombia and Honduras — a key producer and transit nation for cocaine, respectively — have dropped to basically zero, according to authorities, while increased security through Central America and at the US-Mexico border has made overland smuggling operations more risky

Officials in both the US and Latin America have warned about the resurgence of sea trafficking routes for years. Authorities usually focus their attention on the Caribbean, but the recent eight-ton haul shows that traffickers are also smuggling massive drug shipments through the Pacific. Notably, officials in El Salvador have previously noted an increase in sea trafficking operations as use of overland routes decline.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the Caribbean

To its credit, the US government has responded by increasing resources for sea interdiction efforts. In January, the United States announced a comprehensive plan to tackle drug trafficking through the Caribbean, the first initiative of its kind. The Coast Guard has also increased patrols in drug smuggling zones along both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 29 MAR 2012

Puerto Rico's police chief has resigned after less than a year on the job, leaving office in the middle of…

CARIBBEAN / 10 SEP 2020

Drug mules in Jamaica made a habit of exploiting weak controls on commercial flights to move cocaine into the United…

CARIBBEAN / 8 DEC 2016

Venezuela's dire economic situation is fueling piracy off the coastal state of Sucre, providing one example of the various illicit…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…