The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midgett will return to Pier 36 in Seattle on Thursday, July 2nd, following a 71-day counter-drug deployment in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America.
During the deployment, law enforcement officers aboard Midgett interdicted seven drug-laden “panga” vessels in international waters, seized more than 12,100 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $180 million wholesale and apprehended 22 suspected drug smugglers.
“This is the most successful counter-drug patrol I’ve experienced in more than 26 years of service,” said Capt. Brendan C. McPherson, Midgett’s commanding officer. “Our success is a testament to our resolve to help defeat the illicit networks that fuel instability within the region and threaten our neighbors. I couldn’t be more proud of the extraordinary professionalism and tactical prowess demonstrated by the Midgett crew.”
The crew of Midgett left Seattle Apr. 21st to patrol in support of Operation Martillo, a multi-national, interagency counter-drug operation in the Eastern Pacific region coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force South in Key West, Fla. An armed MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Squadron based in Jacksonville, Fla., was embarked aboard Midgett for part of the deployment.
“The U.S. faces significant risks to regional security and prosperity brought on by the rising threat of Transnational Organized Crime networks,” said Rear Adm. Meredith Austin, deputy commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area. “Criminal networks in the Western Hemisphere draw immense profits from drug trafficking, which the crew of Midgett has worked tirelessly to disrupt and combat.”
Coast Guardsmen aboard Midgett worked closely with various U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection and Coast Guard maritime patrol aircraft to locate and seize the drug shipments.
“By interdicting these illegal drug loads far offshore, before it can get into the pipeline within Central America, we not only protect our own U.S. border but also the maritime borders of our Western Hemisphere neighbors,” McPherson said.
Image: US Coast Guard