March 16, 2017

The Navy is considered the protectors of the seas, but recently the Coast Guard made headlines with a large-scale drug bust. The news in San Juan, Puerto Rico, elaborated on multiple international drug agencies and Coastguard units, all working together during the whole process from investigation to bust.

The fishing boat, The Lady Michelle, was carrying a cargo of 4.2 tons of pure cocaine. The product was assembled in bales and is recorded as the largest maritime cocaine drug bust since the South American boat off the coast in 1999. The stacks of drugs are said to be worth $125 million at wholesale.

Kudos are in store for the multi-agency collaborative efforts of the US DEA (Saint Croix), DEA Barbados, Caribbean Corridor Strike Force supported by Operation Unified Resolve, Caribbean Guard, and the British Nation Crime Agency along with several other international law enforcement agencies.

The Lady Michelle was detected and spotted by the US Coast Guard Cutter, the Joseph Napier, who was responsible for the apprehension of vessel occupants, seizure of illicit drugs, and acted in cooperation with the US cutter Vigilant, where the fishing boat was escorted to St. Vincent, where the ship is registered.

International DEA agencies work to increase water presences as Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) DEA of the Caribbean Division, James Doby states, “As the cocaine flow from South America continues to increase, law enforcement partners in the Eastern Caribbean Region have to increase our collaborative efforts in order to respond to the threat effectively.” 

Moments like these prove the value of the Coast Guard. Through international collaboration and tireless efforts of the men and women of the armed services, waterways, countries, and societies remain stable and safe from potential threats.

This massive contraband seize is a strong way to start the 2017 year for the Coast Guard. By October 2016, the Coast Guard had stopped the trafficking of a historical annual record of more than 416,000 pounds of cocaine, an estimated wholesale of $5.6 billion. This is documented proof that without the coastal protection of the US Coast Guard, the Nation would be faced with extremely high volumes of drug and human trafficking as well as an influx of illegal immigration.

The Coast Guard is mainly positioned around the coastal waters of the US, although there are some international stations abroad. Through dedication and a promise to protect the Nation, the Coast Guard sets its aim to tighten their grip on trafficking even more, ultimately shooting to eliminate it altogether.

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