US Coast Cutter returns home after seizing 3 tons of cocaine

The crew of U.S. Coast Guard cutter Tahoma returned to homeport on January 13 with over three tons of cocaine seized during a 49-day patrol.

Homeported in Kittery, Maine, Tahoma’s crew conducted drug interdiction efforts, strategically intercepting and boarding suspected smuggling vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

During the latest mission, USCGC Tahoma intercepted and seized four open-hulled outboard powered panga-style fishing vessels illegally transporting contraband. The crew confiscated approximately 3,130 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $90 million.

In order to optimize the law enforcement readiness and operational effectiveness, Tahoma’s crew embarked and employed an armed helicopter detachment from Jacksonville, Florida’s Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON). The crew also worked alongside United States and international partner agencies to detect and prosecute these cases.

Of the crew’s four seizures, three occurred within a five-day span over the Christmas holiday. Each case required a high-speed chase by the Tahoma’s pursuit boat teams and use of the armed helicopter to disable the engines of fleeing suspect vessels.

In total, the 270-foot medium-endurance cutter and its 90-plus member crew traveled over 11,500 nautical miles in support of the Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy and Joint Interagency Task Force South initiatives.

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