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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Rafael Lemaitre/ Jennifer de Vallance 202–395–6649
Friday, October 5, 2001

WHITE HOUSE DRUG POLICY OFFICE AND COAST GUARD ANNOUNCE ALL-TIME RECORD ANNUAL MARITIME COCAINE SEIZURES

(Washington, DC)—Edward H. Jurith, Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and Admiral James M. Loy, United States Interdiction Coordinator (USIC) and Commandant of the Coast Guard, today announced that operations had interdicted an all-time annual record amount of cocaine in maritime seizures in Fiscal Year 2001. Through October 1st, 2001, the U.S. Coast Guard, as the Nation's lead agency for maritime law enforcement, has seized 138,334 pounds of cocaine, compared to the previous record of 132,480 pounds interdicted for Fiscal Year 2000.

Acting White House Drug Policy Director Jurith commended the Coast Guard's record efforts: "The nation, working with our international partners, has made substantial progress in confronting illegal drug trafficking. American families and communities are the winners as a result of these superlative efforts by the Coast Guard. This is a huge amount of cocaine that will never reach the streets of the United States. We are proud of the close interagency coordination between the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs Service, other U.S. law enforcement authorities, and extensive Department of Defense support, including tracking and intelligence. By shielding our borders from the drug threat, we help cripple major drug organizations and threaten their financial and logistical support throughout the world."

Jurith continued, "This increase in seizures takes place at the same time that other data tell us US consumers are using an ever-smaller proportion of the world's cocaine. Seizing more from a smaller universe of drugs is exactly what supply reduction aims to do. Much of the success is due to international cooperation, information sharing, and targeted operations. Foreign governments are also doing better, and for many of the same reasons. Mexico, a country also focused on reducing the availability of cocaine to its citizens, increased seizures from 7.6 metric tons in the first four months of 2000 to 10.7 metric tons in the first four months of 2001, a 40% improvement. As challenging as it is to reduce drug-flow in these times when resources are stretched, internationally supported interdiction is showing a good return on investment."

Admiral Loy stated, "The past several years have seen tremendous growth in cooperative agreements between the United States and the other American states that fall within the transit zone. The effectiveness of our ships and cutters is a direct result of the support we have received from other nations concerned with the corruption and social problems that result from drug trafficking."

Last May, the Coast Guard seized 13 tons of cocaine off the coast of Central America. That seizure represents the largest cocaine seizure in maritime history, and resulted from the coordinated efforts of the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Navy. The cocaine was found aboard the "Svesda Maru," a 152-foot fishing vessel registered in Belize.

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