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Coast Guard seizes $729M worth of cocaine from boats moving drugs from Central America to the US

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If you ever had any doubt whatsoever as to how broken our border system is, you need to look no further.

The Washington Examiner is now reporting that the Coast Guard seized nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of illegal drugs (cocaine) over the past two months from smugglers who tried to move drugs by sea from Central and South America to the U.S. through international waters, according to a military spokesman.

A spokesman for the Coast Guard confirmed that they have intercepted $729 million dollars, or 52,900 lbs worth of cocaine just in the past two months. He added that 57 suspected smugglers were arrested and all the boats were confiscated.

Here is more via The Washington Examiner:

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“The Coast Guard seized nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of cocaine over the past two months from smugglers who had attempted to move drugs by boat from Central and South America to the U.S. through international waters, according to a military spokesman.

Coast Guard vessels deployed to the region over the past two months intercepted traffickers and took approximately 52,900 pounds of cocaine valued at $729 million from those boats into custody, Coast Guard spokesman Chad Saylor confirmed to the Washington Examiner Monday.

Fifty-seven suspected smugglers were also taken into custody.

Three ships from the Coast Guard’s Medium Endurance Cutter fleet returned last week from deployments to the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are high drug transit zones for cartels trying to ship product from Central and South America to North America.

Coast Guard Cutters Venturous, Steadfast, and Alert seized the majority of the cocaine, aided by Hamilton, Tampa, and Mohawk.

Each trafficker was first spotted by other military or law enforcement personnel who then alerted the Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Fla., and a specific boat is ordered to respond.

CGC Alert interdicted a boat with 12,000 pounds of what it reported to be cocaine, worth $189 million, from several “go-fast” boats. The bust was the largest amount of cocaine ever seized in a single patrol, according to a press release.

“Low profile go-fast vessels are typically painted to blend with the water and are designed to ride low in the water to reduce their radar signature making them more difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect,” Lt. Cmdr. Dave Ratner, executive officer aboard the St. Petersburg, Fla.,-based CGC Venturous, said in a statement.

CGC Steadfast’s crew apprehended approximately 17,000 pounds of cocaine between late June and mid July.

“Their hard work means two things,” Steadfast Cmdr. Alain Balmaceda said in a statement. “First, more than eight tons of cocaine won’t reach our streets and add to the drug-related deaths and health problems facing our nation. And second, hundreds of millions of dollars are being denied to transnational criminal organizations who spread instability, death, and despair wherever they operate.”

In a statement, Lt. Cmdr. Dave Ratner, executive officer aboard the St. Petersburg, Fla.,-based CGC Venturous, confirmed that low profile vessels who tend to go at high speeds are typically painted to blend in with the water in order to reduce their radar signature which makes them harder to detect for law enforcement.

Steadfast Cmdr. Alain Balmaceda also said in a statement that the hard work they do means over 8 tons of cocaine won’t be reaching the streets of the U.S. and many won’t be dying because of this, not to mention that hundreds of millions of dollars have been taken away from transnational criminal organizations such as cartels who spread instability, death, and despair wherever they touch.

More on this via The United States Coast Guard:

“Numerous U.S. agencies from the Department of Defense, Department of Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement along with allied and international partner agencies play a role in counter-drug operations. The fight against transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by U.S. Attorneys in districts across the nation.

The Coast Guard increased U.S. and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America, as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy. During at-sea interdictions in international waters, a suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored by allied military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the 11th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Alameda, California. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Steadfast and Alert are both 210-foot medium endurance Reliance-class cutters based in Warrenton, Oregon.”

So do you still honestly believe we have a secure border? While everyone is worried about our southern border, which is in dire need of a wall, drones and more Border Patrol agents, we have drug cartels sneaking poison into our neighborhoods by sea.

Just imagine, if this is how much they caught, the amount that actually made it into our nation must be astronomical.

 

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Mueller Begs McConnell For Protection Bill – He Responds With Something Better

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As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service in the world, RWN offers the following information published by: Washington Times

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flatly rejected the need to approve legislation protecting the special counsel’s probe into the 2016 election, saying Wednesday there’s no evidence the investigation needs protection.

Mr. McConnell laid out Republicans’ goals for the lame-duck session of Congress, saying preventing a government shutdown is tops on the list, along with passing new rules to stop sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and approving a farm bill.

He flatly ruled out the chance of a partial government shutdown over border wall money and other spending fights.

And he dismissed the need for Congress to act on legislation Democrats and some Republicans want to protect special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I don’t think any legislation’s necessary,” Mr. McConnell said.

He said he speaks regularly with President Trump and while the president has made his distaste for the investigation clear, he’s never given an “indication” that he would attempt to shut down the probe.

Mr. McConnell said for his part he believes the investigation should be allowed to finish.

Democrats said they’re intent on getting Mueller protections approved during this lame-duck session of Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Wednesday that those provisions, if they don’t pass as a stand-alone bill, need to be part of the year-end spending bill.

And Mr. Schumer drew lines over other parts of the spending bill, saying it should not go above the current $1.6 billion senators have included for new border security such as a wall.

Mr. Trump has demanded it include at least $5 billion in funding for his border wall. The House has passed a bill with that number, putting it on a crash course with senators.

Mr. Schumer said Congress should compromise by agreeing on the Senate’s number, and he told Mr. Trump to butt out of any negotiations.

“Every time he interferes, it gets bolluxed up,” the New York Democrat said.

Mr. Schumer also took a victory lap on last week’s election results, which saw his caucus likely lose one or two seats. The senator said that was still a victory for Democrats because it could have been much worse for them.

And he said voters sent a signal of support for Democrats’ policy ideas, which he said they’ll pursue even while in the minority in the Senate.

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Elected Republican Majority Whip Just Announced – Will Shake Up The Senate

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As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service in the world, RWN offers the following information published by: Daily Caller

South Dakota Sen. John Thune was elected to serve as the Republican Majority Whip Wednesday.

Thune was nominated by former whip, Texas Sen. John Cornyn. This comes as Cornyn met his three-term limit in the position. The majority whip is the second-ranking position in Senate leadership.

Republicans voted for other leadership positions Wednesday, making Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt the Policy Committee chairman, Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst was voted in as vice chairwoman of the GOP conference and Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso will serve as Senate Republican Conference chairman, according to The Hill.

Senator John Thune speaks as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John Barrasso listens during a media briefing on Capitol Hill. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Thune has served as chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee since 2015. He will now have to step down as chairman, after taking his new job as majority whip.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Cornyn Wednesday, giving him a Louisville slugger baseball bat with “To John Cornyn – The Best Whip Ever,” written on it.

Meanwhile, The Hill has more on Joni Ernst elected to serve as vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference:

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has been elected to serve as vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, becoming the first woman to be elected to a Senate GOP leadership position since 2010.

Ernst, a veteran of the Iraq War who served a total of 23 years in the military, is considered a rising star among her colleagues.

She defeated Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) in the only contested Senate Republican leadership race after months of quiet campaigning in the conference.

Senate Republicans saw Ernst as someone who might be a better communicator for the conference on television, while Fischer garnered praise as someone who worked diligently behind the scenes to build relationships with members of GOP leadership.

Ernst emerged as the winner after Senate Republicans met in the Old Senate Chamber on Wednesday morning to vote on the new leadership team for the 116th Congress.

McConnell was reelected as Senate majority leader, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was elected as majority whip, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) was elected as Senate Republican Conference chairman and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) was elected as Senate Republican Policy Committee chairman.

Ernst burst onto the national scene in 2014 with an ad recounting her upbringing on a farm where she castrated hogs and pledging that she would “make ‘em squeal” in Washington by cutting pork.

Senate Republicans say McConnell has been eager to add a woman to his elected leadership team after he came under criticism in 2017 for not appointing a woman to a special health-care working group he created.

A woman has not served as a member of the elected Senate GOP leadership since 2010, when Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) stepped down as vice chairwoman of the GOP conference after losing her primary race to conservative challenger Joe Miller.

Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) served as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 2007 to 2009, the highest-ranking position a woman has held in the Senate GOP leadership since Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine) chaired the Senate Republican Conference in the early 1970s.

Fischer and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) already serve as informal counselors on McConnell’s leadership team.

Senate Republicans also came under scrutiny during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings over the all-male GOP membership of the Judiciary Committee.

McConnell says one of his priorities is to recruit more women to the Judiciary panel.

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