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News | March 9, 2023

Coast Guard offloads more than $160 million in illegal narcotics

By Seventh Coast Guard District

See originally published USCG release

MIAMI — The crew of the USCGC Spencer (WMEC 905) offloaded approximately 4810 kilos of cocaine worth over $160.3 million in Port Everglades, Wednesday. Along with the illicit narcotics, eight suspected smugglers were apprehended and face prosecution in federal court by the Department of Justice.

The offloaded drugs were interdicted during three separate cases in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean by crews from:

  • USCGC Spencer (WMEC 905)
  • USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) with embarked USCG Law Enforcement Detachment 104
  • Royal Netherlands Navy Ship HNLMS Holland (P840) with embarked USCG Law Enforcement Detachment 401 and a USCG Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron helicopter

Initially, a suspect vessel is detected and monitored by U.S. or allied military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West. Once interdiction becomes imminent, the law enforcement phase of the operation begins, and control of the operation shifts to the U.S. Coast Guard throughout the interdiction and apprehension. Interdictions in the Caribbean Sea are performed by members of the U.S. Coast Guard under the authority and control of the Coast Guard's Seventh District, headquartered in Miami.

Spencer is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter. The cutter’s primary missions include law enforcement, search and rescue, drug interdiction, fisheries enforcement, migrant interdiction, homeland security and defense operations and international training. Spencer patrols the offshore waters from Maine to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

The Coast Guard is both a military service and the nation’s primary maritime law enforcement agency.