Enforcement Branch (dre)
Coast Guard District Eight Enforcement Branch (dre)
provides oversight and direction to field units enforcing federal laws and
regulations. Branch officers are assigned to provide policy guidance, plan
and implement special operations. In addition, the Enforcement Branch supports the Coast
Guard’s Maritime Homeland Security efforts.
The law enforcement mission of the Coast Guard is dynamic and growing. The Enforcement Branch is responsible for keeping abreast of changes and advising District units. A Law Enforcement Duty Officer (LEDO) is always on call to provide support.
If you would like more in depth maritime law enforcement information feel free to contact us.
Law Enforcement Overview
The United States Coast Guard is the nation's leading maritime law
enforcement agency and has broad, multi-faceted jurisdictional authority.
The operational law enforcement mission is directed primarily in the areas
of vessel safety, drug interdiction, living marine resources, alien migrant interdiction, maritime homeland security and responding to vesel incidents involving violent acts or other criminal activity.
The U.S. Coast Guard traces its origins to 1790. On August 4, 1790,
Congress authorized the President to build and equip ten boats to collect
revenue, and provide for a complement of officers and men to operate them.
This early service known as the Revenue Marine (later the Revenue Cutter
Service) represented the nation's attempt to counter a serious smuggling
problem that had tremendous financial impact on the nation's ability to
enforce its laws at sea. The Coast Guard has continued this tradition and
continues to enforce all U.S. maritime law, including laws against smuggling
illegal drugs and migrants and laws protecting our living marine resources.
The specific statutory authority for the Coast Guard Law Enforcement
mission is given in 14 USC 2, "The Coast Guard shall enforce or assist in
the enforcement of all applicable laws on, under and over the high seas and
waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States." In addition, 14
USC 89 provides the authority for U.S. Coast Guard active duty commissioned,
warrant and petty officers to enforce applicable U.S. law. It authorizes
Coast Guard personnel to enforce federal law on waters subject to U.S.
jurisdiction and in international waters, as well as on all vessels subject
to U.S. jurisdiction (including U.S., foreign and stateless vessels). The broad authority given by Congress makes the Coast Guard the only federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in both U.S. waters and on the high seas.
The Coast Guard's counter-drug missions are critical to achieving the National Drug
Control Strategy's goals of detecting, disrupting, deterring and seizing illegal drugs.
The U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone holds some 20 percent of the world’s
fishery resources and supports a commercial industry valued at more than $25
billion. The Coast Guard’s boardings and inspections of both foreign and
U.S. flagged fishing vessels have increased significantly in recent years
and are critically important factors in helping to rebuild and maintain fish
stocks at risk.
The Enforcement Branch (dre) is committed to:
- Conducting air and surface operations within the District , upon the Gulf of Mexico, high seas and other waters over which the United States exercises jurisdiction, in order to effectively perform Coast Guard law enforcement functions;
- Gathering intelligence to more effectively direct Coast Guard resources at specific maritime law enforcement threats including maritime homeland security;
- Providing assistance in which Coast Guard personnel and facilities are especially qualified to other federal, state and local authorities when requested;
- Developing effective relationships with federal, state and local authorities to facilitate the sharing of law enforcement information in the maritime environment;
- Conducting or facilitating unit and personnel training to ensure all District units execute the maritime law enforcement and homeland security missions with upmost professionalism, technical proficiency an dht highest state of readiness.
Protecting the U.S. EEZ and key areas of the high seas is an important mission for the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard enforces fisheries laws at sea, as tasked by the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Our fisheries priorities are:
the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone from foreign encroachment. The MSFCMA of
1976 extended U.S. fisheries management authority out to the full 200 miles
authorized by international law. The U.S. EEZ is the largest in the world.
- Enforcing domestic fisheries law: U.S. Domestic Fisheries support a $24 billion dollar
industry. Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs) are developed by regional Fisheries Management Councils, each of which have a non-voting Coast Guad member. After approval by the Secretary of Commerce, the Coast Guard is responsible for enforcing these FMPs at sea, in conjunction with shroe and sea-based enforcement by the National Marine Fisheries Service law enforcement arm. In addition to FMP enforcement, we enforce laws to protect marine mammal and endanged species.
- International fisheries agreements: Realizing that fish do not recognize national boundaries, the Coast Guard works closely with the Department of State to develop and enforce international fisheries agreements.
Under U.S. and international law, a sovereign nation may control immigration. The Coast Guard enforces immigration law in the maritime environment primarily by interdicting undocumented aliens before they reach the waters of the United States. Often immigrants attempt to sail to the U.S.in severely overcrowded and unseaworthy craft.
As the primary maritime law enforcement agency, the Coast Guard is tasked with enforcing immigration law at sea. The Coast Guard conducts patrols and coordinates with other federal agencies and foreign countries to interdict undocumented migrants, denying them entry via maritime routes to the U.S. and its territories and possessions. Interdicting migrants at sea means they can be quickly returned to their countries of origin without the costly processes required if they successfully enter the United States.
With illegal immigration potentially costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year,the Coast Guard's deterrent efforts help support hte use of legal migration systems. Regardless teh Coast Guard crews may encounter migrants requesting protection. The Department of State (Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration) and the Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Service establishes the policies in this area and handles all potential asylum cases that may arise while we carry out our duties.
The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for maritime drug interdiction and shares lead responsibility for air interdiction with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As such, it is a key player in combating the flow of illegal drugs to the United States.
The Coast Guard's mission is to reduce the supply of drugs from the source by denying smugglers th use of air and maritime routes in the Transit Zone, a six million square mile area, including the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific. In meeting the challenge of patrolling this vast area, the Coast Guard coordinates closely with other federal agencies and countries within the region to disrupt and deter the flow of illegal drugs.
Coast Guard drug interdiction accounts for nearly 56% of all U.S. government seizures of cocaine each year. For fiscal year 2012, Coast Guard cocaine seizures alone had an estimated import value of approximately $3.5 billion.
Maritime Homeland Security
The United States Coast Guard's homeland security mission is not new to us. It is more visible today than it was prior to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but it is just as important as it was when we first began protecting our national sovereignty. The Coast Guard maintains a clear vision and a keen sense of vigilance while keeping watch for threats to our security and those who would do us harm.
The Coast Guard continues to play an integral role in maintaining the operations of our ports and waterways by providing a secure environment in which mariners and the American people can safely go about the business of living and working freely.
The Coast Guard has increased its vigilance, readiness, and patrols to protect the country’s 95,000 miles of coastline, including the Great Lakes and inland waterways.
The Coast Guard's homeland security role includes:
- Protect ports, the flow of commerce, and the marine transportation system from terrorism.
- Maintain maritime border security against illegal drugs, illegal aliens, firearms and weapons of mass destruction.
- Ensure that we can rapidly deploy and resupply our military assets, both by keeping Coast Guard units at a high state of readiness, and by keeping marine transportation open for the transit assets and personnel from other branches of the armed forces.
- Protect against illegal fishing and indiscriminate destruction of living marine resources and preventing and repsonding to oil and hazardous material spills--both accidental and intentional.
- Coordinate efforts and intelligence with federal, state and local agencies.