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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, dre supports the Coast Guard’s Maritime Homeland Security efforts.


Welcome to the District Enforcement Branch web site. This site is designed to provide general information about our office and our missions. If you would like more in depth maritime law enforcement information feel free to contact us.

Contact Information

The Enforcement Branch can be contacted at the following numbers: 

Main Number and Branch Yeoman
(504) 671-2245
(504) 671-2057
Branch Chief 
(504) 671-2101
Assistant Branch Chief  
(504) 671-2241
General LE/Fisheries 
(504) 671-2046
Maritime Homeland Security 
(504) 671-2244

The Coast Guard, as the primary maritime law enforcement agency of the United States, is authorized to make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests upon the high seas and waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of laws of the United States. This authorization is found in 14 USC 89.

The law enforcement mission of the Coast Guard includes the enforcement of laws pertaining to customs, immigration, natural resources, illegal firearms, contraband, smuggling, stolen vessels, boating safety, merchant marine safety, port safety and security, marine environmental protection, fisheries laws and agreements, and criminal statutes.

The law enforcement mission of the Coast Guard is dynamic and growing. The Enforcement Branch (dre) is responsible for keeping abreast of changes and advising District units. A Law Enforcement Duty Officer (LEDO) is always on call to provide support.

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 Boating Safety, Drug Interdiction, Living Marine Resources, Alien Migrant Interdiction, Maritime Homeland Security and responding to vessel 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 only federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in both U.S. waters and on the high seas, the Coast Guard’s enforcement of U.S. laws and treaties focuses on conducting multi-agency counter-drug operations, interdicting illegal migrants and contraband, protecting living marine resources, maritime homeland security and helping to stem weapons proliferation, among other critical tasks.

Its counter-drug missions are critical to achieving the National Drug Control Strategy goals: to detect, disrupt, deter, and seize 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.

Mission Statement

The Enforcement Branch (dre) is committed to:

To conduct air and surface operations within the District, upon the Gulf of Mexico and high seas and other waters over which the United States exercises jurisdiction, in order to effectively perform Coast Guard law enforcement functions;

To gather intelligence to more efficiently direct Coast Guard resources at specific maritime law enforcement threats including maritime homeland security;

To provide transportation and other assistance which Coast Guard personnel and facilities are especially qualified to perform for other federal, state and local authorities when requested; and to develop effective liaison with these agencies to facilitate the sharing of law enforcement information in the maritime environment;

To conduct unit and personnel training to ensure a high state of readiness for all District units so they may effectively perform the maritime law enforcement and homeland security missions.


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:

Protecting 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), to ensure the sustainability of these fisheries are developed by regional Fisheries Management Councils, each of which have a non-voting Coast Guard member. The Coast Guard is responsible for enforcing these FMPs at sea, in conjunction with National Marine Fisheries Service enforcement ashore. In addition to FMP enforcement, we enforce laws to protect marine mammals and endangered 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.

Illegal Immigration

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 aliens before they reach the waters of the United States. Often immigrants attempt to sail to the U.S. in seveto the U.S. in severely overcrowded 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 at sea, denying them entry via maritime routes to the U.S., 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.

When successful, illegal immigration can potentially costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year in social services. In addition to relieving this financial burden on our citizens, the Coast Guard's efforts help to support the use of legal migration systems.   Primarily, the Coast Guard maintains its humanitarian responsibility to prevent the loss of life at sea, since the majority of migrant vessels are dangerously overloaded, unseaworthy or otherwise unsafe.

Protection from political persecution and torture are important concerns for the U.S.  During the course of migrant interdictions, Coast Guard crews may encounter migrants requesting protection. The Department of State (Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration) and the Immigration and Naturalization Service establish the policies in this area and handle all potential asylum cases on our cutters.

Drug Interdiction

The Coast Guard is the lead federal agency for maritime drug interdiction and shares lead responsibility for air interdiction with the U.S. Customs Service. 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 the 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. In addition to deterrence, Coast Guard drug interdiction accounts for nearly 56% of all U.S. government seizures of cocaine each year. For Fiscal Year 2000 the rate of Coast Guard cocaine seizures alone had an estimated import value of approximately $4.4 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:

Last Modified 6/24/2013