MEDIA ADVISORY: Coast Guard to offload 34,780 pounds of cocaine in Port Everglades

united states coast guard 

Media Advisory  

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Southeast
Contact: 7th District Public Affairs
Office: 305-415-6683
After Hours: 786-367-7649
7th District online newsroom

Coast Guard to offload 34,780 pounds of cocaine in Port Everglades

The crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Forward (WMEC-911) and Hamilton (WMSL-753) conducted multiple at-sea drug interdictions in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

A Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC-911) boarding team located 90 bales of cocaine aboard a low profile go-fast vessel Saturday Dec. 15, 2018 approximately 273 miles northwest of Manta, Ecuador. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC-911) interdicts a suspected drug smuggling vessel approximately 242 miles southeast of Galapagos Islands, Ecuador Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 with approximately 1,768 pounds of cocaine hidden under the deck of the vessel. A Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC-911) boatcrew recovers multiple bales of cocaine, which totaled approximately 2,535 pounds, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 nearly 69 miles southwest of Malpelo Island, Colombia.

Editor's Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

Editor’s Note:  Media interested in attending must RSVP with the Coast Guard 7th District Public Affairs duty officer at 786-367-7649. Only credentialed media will be granted access to the event. Media must arrive no later than 7:30 a.m. 


Security:  Be prepared to show government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license or passport, and media credentials at the security checkpoint.


WHO: Adm. Karl Schultz, Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, Rear Adm. Peter Brown, commander of Coast Guard 7th District, Jeff Maher, acting deputy director of Customs and Border Air and Marine Operations Southeast Region, Cmdr. Michael Sharp, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC-911) and the Forward crew.


WHAT: Offload approximately 34,780 pounds of cocaine


WHEN: 8:05 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019


WHERE: Pier 4, Port Everglades - 1800 SE 20th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316. The seaport can be accessed by:   

  1. Main entrance. Take I-595 East straight into the port (I-595 become Eller Drive once inside the Port). I-595 runs east/west with connections to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, U.S.1, I-95, State Road 7 (441), Florida's Turnpike, Sawgrass Expressway and I-75.
  2. North entrance. Take U.S.1 or A1A to 17th Street Causeway in Fort Lauderdale and turn south at the streetlight onto Eisenhower Blvd.
  3. US1/Federal Highway entrance. At the intersection of State Road 84 East and U.S.1 (Federal Hwy.), turn east into the seaport.  

MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Forward (WMEC-911) is scheduled to offload approximately 34,780 pounds of cocaine Tuesday in Port Everglades worth an estimated $466 million wholesale seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The drugs were interdicted off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America by multiple U.S. Coast Guard cutters.

The offload represents 21 separate, suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions by the Coast Guard:

  • The cutter Forward was responsible for eight cases seizing an estimated 14,207 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton (WMSL-753) was responsible for five cases, seizing an estimated 9,460 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Campbell (WMEC-909) was responsible for four cases, seizing an estimated 6,153 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Alert (WMEC-630) was responsible for two cases, seizing an estimated 5,736 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Venturous (WMEC-625) was responsible for one case, seizing an estimated 1,565 pounds of cocaine.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Confidence (WMEC-619) was responsible for one case seizing an estimated 553 pounds of cocaine.

Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security are involved in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with allied and international partner agencies play a role in counter-drug operations. The fight against transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys in Florida, California, New York, the Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere.

"The interdiction and disruption of more than 17 tons of cocaine is a result of the collaboration and coordination of multiple Coast Guard and interagency assets to address the complex maritime challenge of Transnational Criminal Organizations,” said Cmdr. Michael Sharp, commanding officer of the cutter Forward. “I am extremely proud of all the women and men that contributed to the mission success, it is a direct reflection of how the U.S. Coast Guard delivers mission excellence anytime, anywhere." 

The Coast Guard increased U.S. and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America, as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy. During at-sea interdictions in international waters, a suspect vessel is initially located and tracked by allied, military or law enforcement personnel. The interdictions, including the actual boarding, are led and conducted by U.S. Coast Guardsmen. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific are conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District headquartered in Alameda, California.


The cutter Forward is a 27-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia. The cutter Hamilton is a 418-foot national security cutter homeported in Charleston, South Carolina. The cutter Campbell is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The cutter Alert is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Astoria, Oregon. The cutter Venturous is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida. The cutter Confidence is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Florida.

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