Each and every day, the Coast Guard combats the illicit drug trade in a six-million square mile area, including the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific. In addition to deterrence, Coast Guard drug interdiction accounts for nearly 52% of all U.S. government seizures of cocaine each year.
The name “Coast Guard” can be a little deceiving. Many people don’t realize Coast Guardsmen are deployed around the world conducting a variety of military, law enforcement, regulatory and humanitarian missions. One of its most significant expeditionary missions is counter narcotics in the Western Hemisphere; more specifically, stopping drug smugglers in the “drug transit zones” of the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin.
“Our crew used their unique capabilities and authorities as a military service, law enforcement agency, and member of the U.S. intelligence community to disrupt transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific and keep drugs from making it to the U.S.,” said Capt. Edward A. Westfall, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell. “These illegal drug networks are dangerous breeding grounds for all types of trafficking and their immense profits fuel violence and instability.”
Sometimes a person gets a weird feeling in the pit of their stomach because there is more to a situation than meets the eye. This feeling is commonly referred to as a person’s “sixth sense.” Coast Guard boarding officers are trained to follow that “sixth sense” while they’re conducting counter narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Basin. That’s exactly what happened to Petty Officer Matthew Baasch and a boarding team from the Cutter Bertholf when they climbed aboard the fishing vessel Goliat I off the coast of Colombia on June 28.
Coast Guard cutters Charles Sexton and Paul Clark are two of the service’s new fast response cutters. Capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and armed with one stabilized remotely operated 25-mm chain gun and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns, their crews deliver superior law enforcement capabilities. It was this capability that led to a historic drug interdiction.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp testified before a joint U.S. House of Representatives hearing yesterday with the Committee on House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Marine Transportation and the Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere.
Families and friends welcomed home Coast Guard Cutter Legare this weekend, just in time for Easter. Before pulling into homeport, however, they made a stop in Miami to offload $110 million worth of cocaine from two separate interdictions.
The vigilance and dedication of law enforcement crews was seen firsthand off the coast of San Diego as U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection crews worked together to disrupt a drug smuggling attempt approximately 90 miles southwest of San Diego. After a CBP aircraft detected the panga with two people aboard, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Sector San Diego, a 45-foot response boat from Station San Diego and the patrol boat Coast Guard Cutter Haddock were dispatched to intercept the panga.
If you speak with Coast Guardsmen from the 1st Coast Guard District – stretching from the Canadian border in Maine to northern New Jersey – about the missions they routinely perform, you will likely get a standard answer from just about every member: search and rescue, recreational boating safety, aids to navigation, ports waterways and coastal security, living marine resource enforcement and ice breaking. But if you ask the crew underway aboard Coast Guard Cutter Dependable last week, they would answer counter drug operations.
Written by Lt. Cmdr. Jamie Frederick, Atlantic Area public affairs. Coast Guard Cutter Bear fittingly celebrated 30 years of commissioned service with a recent return to homeport after a successful eight-week patrol in the Caribbean Sea. Bear is the oldest […]