July 19, 2019

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Coast Guard Drug Detection and Interdiction Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) introduced the Coast Guard Drug Detection and Interdiction Act, which expands the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG) use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to help identify and interdict illicit drugs. Currently, the USCG has actionable intelligence on over 80% of drugs being smuggled into the United States from South America, but it only has the ability to interdict less than 10%. 

“Our country is safeguarded by the skilled men and women of the U.S,” said Senator Young. “Coast Guard who keep Americans safe and secure. This important legislation will help provide the Coast Guard with the necessary funding to continue to patrol our coast, identify potential threats, and keep illegal drugs out of our Hoosier communities.”

“The U.S. Coast Guard keeps families in Florida safe by patrolling the beaches, shore waters, and maritime territory of our state and by conducting search and rescue operations,” said Senator Scott. “But one of their most important jobs is to intercept boat shipments of illegal drugs and the victims of human trafficking. By providing our U.S. Coast Guard members with additional ways to identify and prevent drugs from coming into our country, we are keeping American families safe.”


“Arizona leads the way in developing and deploying unmanned aircraft systems, which are proven tools in our work against drug smuggling,” said Senator Sinema. “Providing the U.S. Coast Guard access to these critical tools will help keep Americans safe.”


The Coast Guard Drug Detection and Interdiction Actauthorizes the Commandant of the Coast Guard to provide funding for the following items for fiscal years 2020 and 2021:


  • $2 million in each fiscal year for assessment of the expanded use of medium range unmanned aircraft systems
  • $5 million in each fiscal year for additional long-range maritime patrol aircraft within the program