US Coast Guard cutter returns from Caribbean Sea patrol

A Coast Guard Cutter Diligence pursuit team interdicts a "go-fast" boat suspected of smuggling illegal drugs. Photo: US Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned from a Caribbean Sea patrol after seizing $2.2 million worth of marijuana and some 375 kilograms of suspected cocaine.

USCGC Diligence returned to Wilmington on Wednesday after spending 65 days on patrol.

The cutter’s crew was deployed in support of Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-South) and performed several Coast Guard missions, including counter drug operations and deterrence of illegal immigration.

Law enforcement personnel from the cutter stopped two smuggling vessels, seized 2,500 pounds of marijuana worth about $2.2 million and prevented approximately 375 kilograms of suspected cocaine from making it to the United States.

The crew also worked closely with other Coast Guard cutters, a U.S. Navy ship and Dutch warships to assist in caring for more than 20 detainees from eight drug busts pending transfer to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for prosecution.

The cutter crew conducted flight operations multiple times throughout the patrol with MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) and Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico. The flight operations included deck landings and helicopter in flight refueling (HIFR), which is a refueling method for helicopter crews while in a hover near the cutter.

The cutter Diligence is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Wilmington, with a crew of approximately 80.

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