SOUTHCOM head: More U.S. ships needed to stop illegal drugs

By Amy R. Connolly  |  March 11, 2016 at 1:21 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- The United States military does not have enough ships in the Caribbean and Central America to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country, the head of U.S. Southern Command said.

Navy Adm. Kurt Tidd told Senate Armed Services Committee the United States is short some 14 ships, dramatically hampering the mission to stop 40 percent of illegal drug traffic. He said there are six or seven ships on daily missions, most from the U.S. Coast Guard.

"For every additional ship and air asset we are able to dedicate to the detection and monitoring mission, we can disrupt approximately 20 more metric tons of cocaine," he told the committee Thursday.

Drug interdiction is among the leading priorities of Southern Command, particularly since a majority of heroin used in the United States comes from Latin America.

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