US Coast Guard seizes more than $143 million worth of cocaine in the Pacific

Feb 27, 2024, 7:28 AM

Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert (WMEC 630) stand behind cocaine bales seized from a dru...

Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert (WMEC 630) stand behind cocaine bales seized from a drug smuggling vessel in Eastern Pacific waters on Feb. 7. The 4,950 kg of cocaine seized is estimated to be valued at more than $143 million. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Edward Wargo)

(U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Edward Wargo)

ASTORIA, Ore. — The U.S. Coast Guard seized nearly 11,000 pounds of cocaine, worth over $143 million, in the eastern Pacific Ocean, according to a statement from the Coast Guard on Monday.

The seizure, performed by the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alert, was a part of a 59-day counter-narcotics patrol of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

During the patrol, the Alert’s crew from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, spotted a suspected “go-fast” vessel. The Drug Enforcement Administration calls this a boat outfitted with high-performance outboard engines.

When calls to halt were ignored, the HITRON helicopter disabled the engines of the “go fast” vessel.

At the same time, bales of cocaine were being jettisoned into the sea by the suspected smugglers. A second small boat team then seized the cocaine from the water.

The crew completed their 59-day patrol on Monday and it was the cutter’s last patrol out of Astoria, Oregon, where it is based.

“The crew worked in the margins, and we won big in the margins,” said Cmdr. Lee Crusius, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alert. “The return on investment from the Coast Guard to the American people continues to be demonstrated by our ability to project capabilities and rule of law within the maritime domain. Day in and day out, the women and men of our service are doing important business, protecting vital international interests from those who wish to subvert order.”

The USCGC Alert, commissioned in 1969, patrolled the northern Pacific Ocean between Russia and the U.S. through coastal waters of Central and South America.

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US Coast Guard seizes more than $143 million worth of cocaine in the Pacific