In the zone: ‘Another life saved’

Suspicions were raised when a fisherman in a panga in the Eastern Pacific Ocean approached Coast Guard Cutter Sherman. After having interdicted several illicit drug runners during the patrol, the mission altered when it was a revealed a fisherman was in need of medical services.

In the zone: ‘Three interdictions in one day!’

On a patrol that took the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Sherman away from their families during the holiday season, the mission has never been so critical. Lives hang in the balance as they work to keep drugs from reaching the U.S. streets and ravaging Central America. In one day, the crew interdicted three drug runs seizing more than 6,613 pounds of cocaine with a wholesale price of $99 million.

Crew members aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Maritime Safety and Security Team Miami, conduct a security patrol in Tampa Bay, Florida. The MSST conducts security patrols in support of the Coast Guard's ports waterways and coastal security mission, and has recently undertaken additional responsibilities to support the Coast Guard's Western Hemisphere Strategy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ashley J. Johnson.

In the Zone: Unity of effort combats transnational organized criminal networks

The Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy makes it clear that combating transnational organized criminal networks is a top priority, and that the service will continually seek new methods and assets for doing so. One new method that has proven highly successful in recent years has been the deployment of the Coast Guard’s maritime safety and security teams to assist with the disruption of these networks throughout their known operating routes in the Caribbean.

Crew members aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point monitor surveillance equipment for suspected of drug trafficking in the Eastern Pacific, Jan. 25, 2016. Military patrol aircraft search for drug traffickers around the clock in an attempt to reduce illegal drug activity in the region. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa E. McKenzie.

In the Zone: Workhorse of the Pacific

The smell of coffee, sweat and hydraulic fluid permeates the air. Music echoes in the background: the beat gaining momentum as the night drags on. Workers in oil-stained coveralls and latex gloves swarm the hangar wielding tools befitting a surgeon’s operating table. The hours grow long and the coffee brews stronger. The prickling sense of urgency lingers as grease-covered hands dissect the beast’s anatomy: every turn of the wrench is precise, calculated. Each stitch buys one more flight, one more mission and one more safe return.

HC-130 Hercules aircrew deploys to Central America for counter-narcotics mission

In the zone: In the sky and on the hunt

Of known drug shipments, it’s believed that 97 percent are transported via maritime means. Through the Coast Guard’s role as America’s premier maritime security force, servicemembers seek to better understand, identify, aggressively pursue and prosecute transnational organized crime networks in the Western Hemisphere.

Emerson Garcia joins the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton boarding team as a Guatemalan shiprider in the Eastern Pacific, Nov. 20, 2015. The Stratton completed a three-month drug interdiction patrol in Central America. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson.

In the zone: Growing international partnerships

Coast Guard Cutter Stratton has just wrapped up a three-month deployment to Central America where their main focus was drug interdiction and international maritime law enforcement. On international patrols, Coast Guard ships often bring temporary support personnel that are pertinent to the mission. Joining them for the entire deployment was Mr. Emerson Garcia, an officer from Fuerza Especial Naval (FEN), or Guatemalan Navy Special Forces.

Reporting aboard in the drug zone

Reporting aboard in the drug zone

Transferring to a new unit is stressful. Transferring to a unit currently underway on an international counter narcotics patrol is even more so. Petty Officer 3rd Class Lawrence Flennoy, a machinery technician, recently flew to Mexico and reported aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Active during the cutter’s Joint Interagency Task Force South patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

In the Zone

In the zone: Stratton offloads more than 66,000 pounds of cocaine

The Coast Guard’s leadership role in Western Hemisphere security and prosperity is critical in the fight against transnational organized crime networks active in the Western Hemisphere as continually strained national security resources are stretched across the globe.

In the zone: A crew’s determination ‘over the horizon’ part 2

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton interdicts 8.4 tons of uncut cocaine after hunting a drug smuggling semi-submersible in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, July 18, 2015. Waiting. Watching. Always Ready.

In the zone: A crew’s determination ‘over the horizon’ Part 1

Cocaine seizures prevent drugs from reaching America’s streets, but they also deliver a blow to the wallet and influence of transnational organized crime groups. Without the Coast Guard and its partners, hundreds of millions of dollars would flow past U.S. borders and fuel these crime-terror-insurgency organizations.

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