Photos: USCG Offloads 26,000 Pounds of Cocaine in Port Everglades

Crew removes tens of millions of dollars' worth of cocaine from Hamilton's deck (USCG)

Published Nov 22, 2021 6:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton delivered more than 26,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $500 million onto a pier at Port Everglades, Florida. It marks the largest single delivery of seized narcotics the ship has made in years. 

The drugs were interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, including contraband seized and recovered during eight interdictions by three American and Canadian ships - the Hamilton, the cutter Vigilant, and the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Harry DeWolf. 

“It has been a dynamic two and half months for this ship with some very difficult law enforcement cases. But at the core of these capabilities is a true culture of trust and respect for each other which enabled the safe apprehension of 14 suspected traffickers," said Capt. Matthew Brown, commanding officer of Hamilton.

Courtesy USCG

Hamilton's crew intercept a low-profile smuggling vessel, Oct. 23 (USCG)

Hamilton's crew interdict another low-profile vessel, Nov. 15 (USCG)

The Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement all work with international partners in U.S. counter-drug operations. During at-sea interdictions, a suspect vessel is tracked and monitored by Joint Interagency Task Force-South in Key West, Florida. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are carried out by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Though the 26,000-pound haul is a significant volume by any measure, Hamilton has delivered even bigger drug cargoes before: in December 2016, her crew offloaded more than twice as much cocaine (53,000 pounds, valued at $715 million) to a pier in nearby Miami.