More than $1.4bn (£1bn) worth of seized cocaine and marijuana has been offloaded by a US Coast Guard ship – the biggest haul in the agency’s history.
The crew of the Cutter James offloaded about 27,079kg (59,700lb) of cocaine and approximately 548kg (1,430lb) of marijuana.
The drugs were taken off the ship at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The US Coast Guard said the drugs were seized during operations in the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean Sea.
It said there had been 27 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling by 10 American, Dutch and Canadian ships.
The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, played a role in the counter-drug operations, it said.
“Today’s offload is a result of our combined efforts of our inter-agency partners and a dedicated international coalition,” said Vice Admiral Steven Poulin, Commander Atlantic Area.
“The Canadian government and Canadian Defence Forces brings an incredible capability in defeating transnational organised crime, and I’m grateful to HMCS Shawinigan to showcase Canada’s commitment.
“Together we will disrupt, defeat and degrade transnational organised crime. We will strengthen our efforts and continue to build collaboration and capability.”
“Canada and America are committed to expanding co-operation on defending North America against illicit trafficking and transnational crime and working together within our alliances,” said Major General Paul Ormsby, Canadian Defence Attache.
“We know that no nation can do it alone, and we know that we are stronger together.
“The kind of co-operation that we see on the pier today is one of the thousands of impressive examples of co-operation every day.”
The Cutter James is a 418ft national security vessel and is based in Charleston, South Carolina.
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