Fact Check

Did the Coast Guard Start Reselling Seized Cocaine Amid Government Shutdown?

The government can raise funds in many different ways, but selling recreational drugs would be a whole new enterprise.

Published Jan. 3, 2019

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The Coast Guard started reselling seized cocaine to raise funds during a government shutdown in December 2018.

When the U.S. government was forced to shut down in December 2018 over a funding dispute involving President Donald Trump's proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico, some government employees were left wondering when they would receive their next paychecks. According to "The Duffel Blog," a website with a military focus, the Coast Guard managed to solve this pay problem by turning to an unlikely source: cocaine.

The Duffel Blog published an article on 29 December 2018 reporting that the U.S. Coast Guard was going to start reselling cocaine they had seized in order to supplement the pay of their members:

With the Coast Guard being the only branch of the military whose members may go without during the current government shutdown, the service has decided to resell the nearly $1 billion dollars worth of cocaine seized in the past six months to supplement pay for the 42,000 men and women on active duty.

This was not a genuine news article, as the Duffel Blog is a military-themed humor site whose disclaimer states that all of the site's content is satirical in nature and that none of its articles should be considered truthful:

Duffel Blog is a parody of a news organization, and all content it publishes is satirical in nature. No content should be regarded as truthful, and no reference of an individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or emotional harm. All characters, groups, and military units appearing in these works are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual military units and companies is purely coincidental.

As of this writing Coast Guard members had not yet missed a paycheck, as funds were approved to pay them on 31 December 2018:

Q: Will Coast Guard members get paid on Dec. 31? A: Yes, the Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard have identified a way to pay our military workforce on Dec. 31, 2018. This one-time action applies to military members that served on active duty in the month of December and those reserve military members that drilled prior to the lapse in appropriation.

Q: Will I get paid on Jan. 15? A: This approval only covers the Dec. 31, 2018 paycheck. It does not guarantee a paycheck on Jan. 15, 2019. Meeting active duty and reserve military payroll for January 2019 will require a fiscal year 2019 appropriation, a continuing resolution, or passage of an alternative measure.


The Duffel Blog.   "Coast Guard Begins Reselling Seized Cocaine Amid Government Shutdown."     29 December 2018.

Sherbs, Diana.   "UPDATE: Government Shutdown FAQs, CGMA Loan Information."     Coast Guard All Hands.   28 December 2018.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.