June 5 through 6, Acting Secretary Kevin K. McAleenan traveled to Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida to view a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) drug offload, tour the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and meet with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials.
During his visit, McAleenan met with the crew of the USCG Cutter Hamilton, which had just returned to Port Everglades after confiscating drugs including over 26,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $348 million wholesale, and over 1,400 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $1.3 million seized in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The drugs represent 15 separate suspected drug smuggling vessel interdictions and disruptions in the Eastern Pacific off the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America by three Coast Guard cutters between March and May 2019. The Acting Secretary, along with Coast Guard District Seven Commander Peter Brown, Commanding Officer U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton Mark Gordon, and senior officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), also discussed the work the Coast Guard undertakes to disrupt transnational criminal organizations that profit off of human trafficking and illicit drug smuggling.
“I am proud of the work our U.S. Coast Guard does to combat transnational criminal organizations who profit from human misery through human and drug trafficking, exacerbate crime levels in the region, and pump dangerous drugs into our country,” McAleenan said. “DHS has a strong interagency partnership to disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute these proliferators of crime.
Also on Thursday, the Acting Secretary toured the National Hurricane Center, which is the epicenter of predicting and tracking hurricanes throughout the Atlantic hurricane season. He received a briefing from Director Ken Graham and NHC leadership on the operational priorities, capabilities and goals of the NHC, as well as their outlook for the 2019 hurricane season. June 1 marked the beginning of Atlantic hurricane season, which is naturally a busy time for the NHC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, DHS and FEMA work throughout the year with our state, local and tribal partners to instill a continual sense of preparedness that increases community resilience in the face of natural disasters.
“If past years are any indication, the 2019 hurricane season will test our response and recovery efforts,” McAleenan said. “At DHS and FEMA, we are not only responding to natural disasters as they occur, but building a lasting culture of resilience that will see us through the worst of hurricane seasons.”
Finally, the Acting Secretary met with TSA personnel at Miami International Airport to discuss challenges to aviation security. The Acting Secretary viewed a demonstration of a computed tomography machine, which allows screeners to have a more comprehensive, 3-D view of potentially threatening items. This technology is another example of TSA’s innovative methods to maintain aviation security.