Coast Guard Cutter James returns to N. Charleston after operation seizes $420 million in cocaine

Source: Live 5
Source: Live 5

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - United States Coast Guard Cutter Joshua James returned to its home port Friday at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in North Charleston.

The crew along with others seized about 16 tons of cocaine along Central and South America worth about $420 million. Authorities say the mission took place during a 26-day period and U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian crews intervened with 17 separate suspected smuggling vessels.

The Cutter James crew offloaded the cocaine at Port Everglades in Florida Tuesday.

According to a press release, numerous U.S. agencies from the Department of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security are involved in an effort to combat transnational organized crime.

The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in addition to allied and international partners play a role in counter-drug operations.

"I am extremely proud of the crew of Coast Guard Cutter James and our embarked HITRON aviation detachment for a highly successful inaugural patrol,"
said Vice Adm. Karl Schultz, commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area. "Our persistent maritime presence in drug trafficking zones from cutters like James enables us to interdict bulk quantities of drugs at sea, preventing criminal networks' illicit cargoes from reaching the shores of Central America, and land routes into the United States."

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James is expected to return at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Here are the crews that were involved in the mission:

  • The cutter James and HITRON were responsible for five cases, seizing an estimated 5.19 tons of cocaine.
  • The cutter Mohawk was responsible for seven cases, seizing an estimated 5.79 tons of cocaine.
  • The cutter Sherman was responsible for one case, seizing an estimated 1 ton of cocaine.
  • The cutter Tampa was responsible for three cases, seizing an estimated 3 tons of cocaine.
  • HMCS Saskatoon and Coast Guard LEDET 405 were responsible for one case, seizing an estimated 1 ton of cocaine.

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