USCGC Alert seizes $188.7m of cocaine in a single patrol

US Coast Guard photo by Fireman Taylor Baco

The US Coast Guard cutter Alert (WMEC-630) has returned to her homeport of Astoria following a 56-day counterdrug patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Alert crewmembers and a tactical law enforcement detachment team conducted multiple interdictions while patrolling international waters off the coast of Central America.

They resulted in more than 12,000 pounds of suspected cocaine seized with an estimated value of $188.7 million wholesale, setting a record for the cutter as the most cocaine seized during a single patrol.

In early July, the Alert received maritime patrol aircraft support from multiple agencies vectoring Alert’s interceptor boat toward a low-profile go-fast vessel. Alert’s boarding team interdicted the vessel in question and apprehended three suspected smugglers. The boarding team seized approximately 4,978 pounds of suspected cocaine from the vessel, according to the coast guard.

An Alert boarding team simultaneously intercepted two go-fast vessels within close proximity to each other in mid-July. The boarding team apprehended eight suspected smugglers and seized a combined total of approximately 5,284 pounds of suspected cocaine during the pair of interdictions.

Alert boarding teams recovered an additional 2,158 pounds of suspected cocaine jettisoned by suspected smugglers as the suspects fled from Alert pursuit teams attempting to interdict the suspicious vessels during two separate cases in June.

The suspected cocaine seized by Alert crewmembers during the patrol was part of the 8.5 tons of contraband offloaded Monday in San Diego from the cutter Steadfast.

The USCG has increased the US and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America, as part of its Western Hemisphere Strategy.

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