April 2nd, 2007 - Open Knowledge
Apr. 2nd, 2007
y Mike Krause & Dave Kopel. Mike Krause is a research associate with the Independence Institute & a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard where among other duties, he served as boat coxswain for drug patrols in the Caribbean Sea. Dave Kopel is research director at the Independence Institute, and author of a chapter in the Cato Institute book After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policy in the Twenty-first Century.
On May 3rd, the U.S. Coast Guard boarded the Belize ship Svesda Maru in international waters, seized over 26,000 pounds of cocaine, and the crew into the United States for prosecution. The bust was hailed as the largest maritime drug seizure ever and is sure to be used by some as evidence that we are winning the war on drugs. Actually, it's better evidence that imperialism is one of the side effects of the U.S. government's addiction to the drug war.
Over the last five years, the Coast Guard has been involved in the seizure of over 490,000 pounds of cocaine with value of over 17 billion dollars, not counting the latest seizure. Yet today in America, cocaine is cheaper and purer than it was 15 years ago.
In 1997, the Coast Guard claimed a 16% cocaine seizure rate. The U.S. National Drug Control Strategy calls for reducing the supply of cocaine by 25% in 2002 and by 50% in 2007 — but this is like a Soviet five-year economic plan which promised to double steel production and triple grain harvests. What the Svesda Maru bust suggests is that more cocaine is actually getting through than ever before. The more drug shipments carrying more cocaine, the more ships for the Coast Guard to catch.
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