Coast Guard Wants Larger Anti-Drug Fleet

The Coast Guard wants to seize at least 40% of the estimated 890 metric tons of cocaine that moves between South America and the United States each year. To do that, though, they would need to increase the size of their anti-drug fleet by around 16 ships.

Although additional ships seems like an unrealistic request with all the military downsizing, according to Air Force Brig Gen. Steve DePalmer, deputy director at Joint Interagency Task Force South "they don’t need to be destroyers, they don’t need to be fancy. They just need to be something that floats, that can trundle along, maybe launch a helicopter — and also launch a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment.”

In 2013, the US Coast Guard seized about 40 metric tons of cocaine, while various law enforcement groups on land seized around 65 more. Combined, this 105 tons is only about 8.5%, if the 890 metric ton estimate is correct.