The United States Coast Guard announced it has seized over 14,153 pounds of cocaine, totaling a value of more than $186 million. Coast Guard authorities say the narcotics were intercepted in nine separate cases over the last several days in international waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Twelve suspected drug smugglers were arrested in the seizures and face prosecution.
“The contraband offloaded today represents the professional expertise and dedication of U.S. defense and law enforcement agencies working together to combat the flow of illicit drugs through the Caribbean Region into the United States,” said Coast Guard Lieutenant Peter Hutchison.
“This teamwork is imperative to the identification, interception, and seizure of vessels engaged in illicit trafficking and a testament to the hard work of these crews,” Hutchison added.
Deadly drug overdoses in the United States continue to rise as drug smugglers at the U.S.-Southern border with Mexico continue to pour in illicit fentanyl and synthetic opioids.
The Foreign Desk writes the crisis at the southern border often monopolizes media attention, but there is more that should not be overlooked. Kyle Shideler, Director and Senior Analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy told the Foreign Desk that while the insecurity of America’s Southern border often receives a large share of media attention, this recent Coast Guard announcement is a “reminder that U.S. maritime borders are also under constant threat.”
“Ultimately, all U.S. states are now ‘border states;’ and must act accordingly,” Shideler said. “Maritime smuggling remains one of the most important avenues for cocaine producers in South America to get their product to the United States, either, directly or after transferring to overland routes in Mexico.”
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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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