Sea of Grass: The Maritime Drug War 1970-1990

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9781557502766: Sea of Grass: The Maritime Drug War 1970-1990

The sea war against illicit drugs was fought mostly from small Coast Guard and Customs craft against wily and dangerous adversaries. This is the story of the men and women who served in that twenty-year struggle, told by one of their own. A benchmark reference, it is the first complete chronicle of the events that led to the demise of the huge maritime smuggling ventures of the 1970s and 1980s, forcing the cartels to seek an easier passage into the United States. The author had firsthand knowledge of all levels of the U.S. government's operations, from the front lines to the highest policy-making offices.
Charles Fuss, a special agent for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assigned to the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System staff and later to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, is directly credited with work leading to the conviction of more than 100 drug smugglers, the seizure of huge amounts of narcotics and the vessels carrying them, and the identification of new smuggling techniques.
The narrative is set against the political background of the period and includes prison interviews the author conducted with veteran smugglers. Readers go to sea with the interceptors and the smugglers to witness their adventures and defeats. Readers are also privy to the details of the violence in Florida that focused concern on the problem and led to the buildup of a counternarcotics force and the involvement of the military and intelligence communities.
The author discusses the effectiveness of the coordination system and the later dismantling of many of the nation's sea-interdiction capabilities, concluding with the warning that the country is once again vulnerable to a maritime drug assault. Photographs from Fuss's private collection accompany the text.

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Fuss, Charles M.
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