News Conference–San Diego, 25 Jan.

Following is a news release quoted in its entirety. 

———–

Media Advisory: U.S., Canadian officials to address emerging threat from drug traffickers (photos available)

united states coast guard

News Release

January 23, 2018

U.S. Coast Guard 11th District PA Detachment San Diego
Contact: Coast Guard PA Detachment San Diego
Office: (619) 278-7025
After Hours: (619) 252-1304
PA Detachment San Diego online newsroom

Media Advisory: U.S., Canadian officials to address emerging threat from drug traffickers (photos available) 

Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast boarding team members intercept a suspected Low Profile Vessel with approximately 3,203 pounds of cocaine onboard in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Nov. 30, 2017. LPVs are designed to be low profile and colored to blend in with the ocean, making them difficult for law enforcement to detect. U.S. Coast Guard photo. Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast boarding team members intercept a suspected Low Profile Vessel with approximately 3,203 pounds of cocaine onboard in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Nov. 30, 2017. Steadfast was patrolling the waterways supporting the Joint Interagency Task Force –South with the primary mission of detecting and interdicting illegal drug traffickers. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

To view and download photos, please click the above thumbnails

WHAT: U.S. forces and international partners continue to see new smuggling tactics by transnational organized crime networks in the eastern Pacific Ocean including vessels specifically constructed for purposes of smuggling narcotics and other illicit contraband.

WHO: Senior officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Southern Command and the Canadian Armed Forces will be available to discuss the tactics of transnational crime networks and international efforts to combat the threat posed by these criminal organizations. These senior officials include:

  • U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, commander, Pacific Area
  • Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Art McDonald, commander, Maritime Forces Pacific 
  • Mr. Adam Braverman, U.S. Attorney, Southern District California
  • U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Daniel B. Hendrickson, director, Network Engagement Team, U.S. Southern Command

WHEN: Jan. 25, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. Attending media is requested to arrive by 8:30 a.m. to gain access to the facility. Government-Issued ID and media credentials are required. To RSVP, please contact Public Affairs Detachment San Diego at 619-252-1304.

WHERE: B-Street Pier (Cruise Ship Terminal) in San Diego, 1140 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

WHY: On the heels of a record year of drug interdiction, the U.S. Coast Guard and its international partners are seeing historic drug flow from cocaine producing countries in South America coupled with new tactics and varying smuggling routes. Gangs vying over drug smuggling routes and influence have led to epidemic murder rates in Central America. The Centers for Disease Control reported another rise in drug overdose deaths in the U.S. with more than 64,000 people reportedly killed by drug overdose in 2017. Of those, over 10,000 were killed by cocaine overdose, an approximately 35 percent rise from 2016.

HOW: Transnational organized crime networks smuggle more than 97 percent of cocaine bound for the U.S. and Canada via some kind of illicit maritime conveyance in the first stage of movement from the source zone. The drugs are smuggled in large quantities from source countries in South America to transshipment points in Central America and southern Mexico. The cocaine is then broken down into smaller loads for secondary and tertiary transits to smuggle across the U.S. Southern Border.

U.S. and international forces have seen the emergence of a variety smuggling vessels specially designed and constructed by transnational organized crime groups like self-propelled semisubmersibles and, more recently, low profile go fast vessels, which are a variant design from traditional go fast vessels. These smuggling vessels are designed to elude authorities using a low profile radar signature, camouflage and, in the case of low profile go fast vessels, speed. These vessels also carry massive quantities of illicit cargo. For example, an SPSS can carry up to 16,000 pounds of cocaine. A network of international and interagency partners constantly patrol the approximately six million square mile drug transit zone used by smugglers using aircraft and vessels. 

8 thoughts on “News Conference–San Diego, 25 Jan.

  1. Having worked on Attack Helicopters in the US Army in the Mid ’70’s, Olive Drab “Stands Out” like a Sore Thumb on a Blue Background. I suspect the “Go-Fast” was Painted Green at the Point of Departure, to make it Hard to Detect on Brown Water surrounded by Green Foliage. But once to Boat Hit Open Blue Waters, Relied on Speed to Outrun Any Pursuers…

    • That is certainly a possibility. Can’t out run an aircraft, but there are things they can do. They might be moving only at night and staying close to the cost. The opposition are large, well financed organizations so they probably could monitor when shore based aircraft take off and land along with the type of aircraft and the direction they depart on after take-off.

      • I would suspect so!/? By what I can see of the Cutter in the Background, it looks like a 210-foot Reliance class Medium Endurance Cutter. Not noted for being able to Run Down anything Faster than Powered Fishing Smack…

      • @Secundius–we have Airborne Use of Force helicopters and over the horizon boats because the ships are not fast enough to run these boats down.

  2. @ Chuck Hill.

    As I recall in 2014 the USCG tried in Vain to Order TEN “Freedom” class LCS’s as Fast Drug Interdiction Cutters. To be Stationed in Mayport, Florida, but the US Congress Denied the Request…

  3. News release that seems to be in support of this event.

    https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSCG/bulletins/1d5df97

    Coast Guard to offload $721 million worth of cocaine in San Diego
    U.S. Coast Guard sent this bulletin at 01/25/2018 02:30 AM EST
    News Release
     
    Jan. 24, 2018
    U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area
    Contact: Coast Guard Pacific Area Public Affairs
    Office: (510) 437-3375
    After Hours: (510) 816-1700
    Pacific Area online newsroom
    Coast Guard to offload $721 million worth of cocaine in San Diego
     

     
    Editors’ Note: Click on image to download high resolution video. 
     

    Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Nanaimo patrols the Caribbean Sea during Operation CARIBBE on October 19, 2017. Photo by MARPAC Imaging Services.
    Members of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Nanaimo transfer cocaine bales seized from a suspected smuggling vessel in collaboration with a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment during Operation CARIBBE on November 22, 2017. Photo by MARPAC Imaging Services.
    Members of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Nanaimo and a United States Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment collaborate on the boarding of a suspected smuggling vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean during Operation CARIBBE on November 21, 2017. Photo by MARPAC Imaging Services.
     
     
    SAN DIEGO – The Coast Guard will offload more than 47,000 pounds of cocaine worth over $721 million Thursday at 9:30 a.m., which was seized in 23 separate interdictions in the eastern Pacific Ocean by U.S. and Canadian forces operating in international waters off the coast of Central and South America.
    Senior U.S. and Canadian officials will be at the offload to discuss new tactics used by transnational organized crime groups and to highlight international cooperation in combating the threat posed by these dangerous groups. U.S. Coast Guard personnel currently assigned to Cutter Stratton will turn the narcotics over to federal agents for investigation, prosecution and, ultimately, destruction.
    “The threat of transnational organized crime is a danger no one ship, agency, country or person can address alone,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area. “We stand alongside our interagency and international partners resolved in a shared purpose to protect those harmed by these dangerous drugs and bring the criminals who smuggle them to justice.”
    The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Stratton stopped two low profile go fast boats in three days, resulting in the seizure of more than 5,800 pounds of cocaine worth almost $78 million. The crews stopped five suspected drug smuggling boats in less than two months, resulting in the seizure of more than 12,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $165 million.
    The Coast Guard will also offload a case executed by Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Nanaimo and a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment, which occurred Nov. 21, 2017. The Canadian-U.S. crew seized more than 3,300 pounds of cocaine worth more than $44 million from a go fast boat in international waters off the coast of Central America. During their patrol, the Canadian-U.S. crew of Nanaimo seized 4,385 pounds of cocaine worth more than $58 million.
    Interdictions by other Coast Guard cutter crews represented in Thursday’s offload, and approximate amounts of cocaine seized, were: Five by the Astoria, Oregon based cutter Steadfast, 12,000 pounds; five by the Key West based cutter Mohawk, 6,700 pounds; five by the Portsmouth, Virginia based cutter Northland, 10,300 pounds; and two by the Key West based cutter Thetis, 3,100 pounds. Stratton is home ported in Alameda, California, and HMCS Nanaimo is based in Esquimalt, British Colombia.

    Since June 2017, the Coast Guard has interdicted 13 low profile go fast boats and two self-propelled semi-submersibles. Low-profile go fast boats are specifically designed for smuggling illicit cargo such as drugs, weapons and cash. Low-profile go-fast boats, a variant design from traditional go-fast boats, ride low in the water to reduce their radar signature, have multiple outboard engines to allow them to travel at high speeds and are painted to blend in with the water to avoid detection from military and law enforcement authorities operating in the region.

    Low-profile or low-profile go-fast boats represent four of the 23 cases being turned over to federal agents during Thursday’s offload. Remaining cases also involved a fishing vessel and more than 15 go-fast boats, traditionally an open-hulled boat with multiple outboard engines used to outrun military and law enforcement officials. This offload showcases the variety of tactics and methods of conveyance transnational organized crime groups use to evade military and law enforcement detection.
    The multinational effort to combat criminal networks in the region includes more than 19 Partner Nations operating with Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS) a component of U.S. Southern Command. This includes Canadian forces, who helped stop more than 16,960 pounds of illegal drugs worth more than $227 million since Oct. 1, 2016. JIATFS’ Partner Nations removed approximately 113 of the 283 tons of cocaine seized or disrupted for FY17. JIATFS detects and monitors illicit trafficking in the air and maritime domains to facilitate International and Interagency interdiction and apprehension of illicit traffickers.

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