By statute, the Coast Guard is a multi-mission agency enforcing federal laws including marine environmental protection, maritime safety, immigration, illicit narcotics smuggling, and recreational boating safety.
Coast Guard units engaged in counter-drug missions within the Eleventh District (D11) are involved in the enforcement of two key drug laws: simple possession (21 USC 844) and possession with the intent to distribute or manufacture(46 USC App. 1903). Simple possession involves the illegal possession of personal use quantities whereas possession with the intent to distribute or manufacture is typically enforced on drug smugglers carrying amounts greater than personal use, normally in the multi-kilo or multi-ton range.
The Eleventh Coast Guard District enforces federal drug laws on navigable waters in or near the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, and exercises tactical oversight of maritime interdiction in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. This region includes international waters near Central and South America. The Eleventh Coast Guard District works closely with the Joint Interagency Task Forces (East and West) in order to conduct effective drug law enforcement interdiction efforts. Through this cooperation the Coast Guard is able to detect, monitor, interdict and apprehend drug smugglers before they and their illegal cargo reach U.S. soil.
In an effort to deny drug trafficking organizations access to maritime smuggling routes near Northern Baja California, Mexico, the Eleventh Coast Guard District initiated Operation Baja Oleada. The initiative, launched in December 2005, focuses on stemming the illegal flow of marijuana into Southern California and relies on inter-agency cooperation. During Fiscal Year 2006, Operation Baja Oleada was responsible for interdicting 8,243 pounds of marijuana.