US Coast Guard cutter seizes 5 tons of cocaine on maiden patrol

USCGC James returning home. Photo: US Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter James seized five tons of cocaine on its maiden voyage and patrol as a coast guard ship.

The crew of the CGC James returned home to Charleston, South Carolina, on March 31 following a 60-day, multi-mission patrol.

During its maiden voyage, James’ crew contributed to the interdiction of 12 drug-smuggling vessels, detainment and subsequent arrest of 22 suspected drug smugglers and were responsible for the seizure of more than five tons of cocaine bound for the United States.

James used its embarked helicopter to employ airborne use of force on three high-speed, drug-smuggling vessels – more than 40 miles apart – within a two-hour period of time.

“James’s first operational patrol was incredibly successfull and I couldn’t be more proud watching them leverage the full range of our capabilities to overcome a variety of challenges and complete our missions,” said Captain Mark Fedor, commanding officer of James.

James’ crew offloaded approximately 16 tons of cocaine at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Tuesday. This cocaine was seized by multiple Coast Guard units in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and has wholesale value of more than $466 million.

During the patrol, James’ embarked helicopter from Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron based in Jacksonville, Florida, marked its 500th interdiction using airborne use of force and precision disabling fire.

The Coast Guard Cutter James is one of two 418-foot National Security Cutters homeported in Charleston. NSCs are equipped with three small boats and a stern boat launch system, dual aviation facilities, and serve as an afloat command and control platform for complex law enforcement and national security missions involving the Coast Guard and numerous partner agencies.

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