FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A U.S. Coast Guard vessel offloaded Thursday more than 30 metric tons of cocaine and marijuana worth over $1 billion that was seized at sea during a months-long deployment off the coast of South America.
The haul of illegal narcotics brought home by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James was one of the biggest in recent memory.
It's a reflection of an increasingly sophisticated U.S. arsenal but also a recent surge in narcotics coming from Colombia, the world’s top producer of cocaine.
The Biden administration’s top anti-narcotics officials traveled to South Florida to welcome back the vessel’s crew and tout the Coast Guard’s role in interdicting drugs before they reach American streets.
“We are hitting the drug traffickers where it hits them most: their pocketbooks,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, head of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Gupta said the Biden administration is looking to increase the U.S. government’s budget to build up the nation’s addiction treatment infrastructure and reduce the supply of synthetic opioids like fentanyl and other drugs.