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U.S. Coast Guard Offloads $100M Worth of Cocaine in Miami

uscg cutter thetis cocaine
Image courtesy USCG

Published Jun 17, 2022 7:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Thetis offloaded nearly $100 million worth of cocaine at a pier in Miami, Florida, adding to the service's non-stop stream of major drug busts. 

The 5,300-pound delivery came from multiple interdictions in the international waters of the Caribbean. The contributing vessels included the USCGC Donald Horsley, as well as the Royal Netherlands Navy patrol ships HNLMS Friesland and HNLMS Groningen

“Interdicting drug traffickers on the open ocean is challenging work and every interdiction is complex and unique,” said Cmdr. Justin Nadolny, commanding officer of the Thetis. “This offload is a testament to the teamwork and devotion of every crew assigned to carry out this mission, and it showcases the strength of the valuable international partnerships united to combat transnational organized crime."

Multiple U.S. and international partners contribute to the interdiction effort in U.S. 4th Fleet, but the law enforcement aspect is the responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard. Embarked teams of coastguardsmen lead and carry out the actual boarding operations, even when the response vessel is operated by a third party. 

America's European partners have their own interest in stopping the flow of drugs in the Caribbean, even though the region is thousands of miles from their home ports. Most of the cocaine that flows through the busy smuggling routes of the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific ends up in Europe, according to researchers. First it flows into container ports in Panama and Mexico, where it is stashed inside ordinary boxes. These normal-looking containers are then shipped along with thousands of others to EU hub ports, notably Rotterdam. This rising influx of smuggled drugs into the Netherlands has attracted organized crime and created challenging port security issues.