Transnational organized crime is a 750 billion dollar enterprise. Motivated by profit, criminal organizations drive widespread instability in South and Central America as they exploit vulnerable populations by trafficking drugs, children, bulk cash and weapons.
Tag: transnational organized crime
The 2016 Tradewinds exercise is in full swing. The exercise is designed to help nations become better equipped when responding to natural disasters and land and maritime threats, including illicit trafficking. Tradewinds has also been identified in the Coast Guard commandant’s Western Hemisphere Strategy as a crucial cornerstone to the fight against countering transnational organized crime in the Caribbean region, specifically smuggling illicit drugs, people and weapons.
Recently, leaders from across government, the Armed Forces and law enforcement came together at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition transnational organized crime panel to discuss increases of drugs, weapons, migrants, unaccompanied children and people with ties to terrorism into our country and the challenges the nation faces as a result.
Each and every day, the Coast Guard combats the illicit drug trade in a six-million square mile area, including the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific. In addition to deterrence, Coast Guard drug interdiction accounts for nearly 52% of all U.S. government seizures of cocaine each year.
This morning Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft signed the Coast Guard Western Hemisphere Strategy. It addresses transnational threats and maritime challenges that threaten the security of our Nation, markets and oceans over the next 10 years. The Coast Guard is globally deployed, but our primary operating area remains in the Western Hemisphere. As we engage future challenges we must think strategically to best position our resources to leverage our unique authorities, capabilities and partnerships to achieve national objectives across the range of Coast Guard missions.
With eight of the top 10 most violent nations residing in the Western Hemisphere and transnational organized crime networks acting as non-state actors, relationships between America’s military services and law enforcement agencies with their counterparts throughout the region are more important than ever. And, every Coast Guard port call is an opportunity to build and nurture those critical partnerships.
Sometimes a person gets a weird feeling in the pit of their stomach because there is more to a situation than meets the eye. This feeling is commonly referred to as a person’s “sixth sense.” Coast Guard boarding officers are trained to follow that “sixth sense” while they’re conducting counter narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Basin. That’s exactly what happened to Petty Officer Matthew Baasch and a boarding team from the Cutter Bertholf when they climbed aboard the fishing vessel Goliat I off the coast of Colombia on June 28.