Some 560 tons of cocaine were seized in the eastern Pacific and Caribbean since 2016 and the massive haul represents a fraction of the illicit drug smuggled into the United States, according to the head of a Southern Command anti-drug task force.
“That was just a drop in the bucket of what we were able to detect,” said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Christopher Tomney, director of Southcom’s Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a multi-agency, international counter drug unit based in Key West, Fla.
The drug flow has increased in recent years due to a jump in production in South America, mainly from Colombia and Ecuador, two main supply states.
“We’re still dealing with a growing flow,” Tomney told reporters recently. “Interdiction is not going to solve this problem. So there are massive quantities of drugs still reaching America’s shores to satisfy the appetite of the users in the United States.”
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