On Thursday, April 19, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen joined President Donald J. Trump and senior U.S. officials at the Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) in Key West, Florida. The purpose of the visit was to review the Administration’s ongoing efforts to combat transnational organized crime and stop illicit drugs from entering the United States. Secretary Nielsen reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to JIATF-S as well as the Department’s ongoing work with international partners to support the JIATF-S mission.
During their visit, President Trump and Secretary Nielsen received an operational briefing and toured the JIATF-S Joint Operations Center. They were joined by General Kelly, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Zukunft, U.S. Southern Command Commander Admiral Tidd, U.S. Northern Command Commander General Robinson, JIATF-S Director Rear Admiral Tomney, and other senior officials.
JIATF-S is the frontline for interdicting the record amounts of cocaine produced in Colombia and shipped to the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia through the transit zones. The information obtained from JIATF-S produces leads and enhances investigations, prosecutions, and intelligence that are critical to U.S. government efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations.
Several DHS equities work with JIATF-S including the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Homeland Security Investigations. In addition to supporting JIATF-S with personnel, DHS is its principal source of surface and air assets. Last year, with the assistance of CBP and USCG air assets, JIATF-S coordinated the seizure or disruption of over 285 metric tons of cocaine, an all-time record since the creation of JIATF-S in 1989. The majority of these interdictions were effected by USCG cutters.
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