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Coast Guard intercepts go-fast vessel laden with cocaine

9/21/2011

MIAMI - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bear, a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va., interdicted a go-fast vessel carrying 4,355 pounds of cocaine while patrolling the Caribbean Sea, on Sept. 9. 

The contraband was offloaded at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., this past Wednesday, according to a press release.

This video features the commanding officer and boarding officer telling a brief story of what happened:

 

The detainees were transferred to federal law enforcement officials at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

After receiving reports of a potential go-fast vessel spotted by a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Maritime Patrol Aircraft in the area, Bear launched its embarked helicopter and smallboat to stop the vessel in order for Bear’s boarding team to conduct a Right of Visit boarding in accordance with international law.

When the helicopter arrived on scene, the go-fast stopped and threw numerous bales overboard. After jettisoning its cargo, the go-fast resumed course at a high rate of speed ignoring the helicopter’s signals to stop. Soon after, the go-fast came to a stop, allowing Bear’s law enforcement boarding team to interdict and board the vessel.

With the help of CBP, the Bear crew was able to stop the vessel and detain the five crewmembers aboard. Because of the efforts of multiple Department of Homeland Security assets, the trafficking of approximately 4,355 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $58 million was prevented. 

The efforts of Bear and the aviation detachment are part of the Coast Guard’s counter-drug strategy to reduce the trafficking of illicit drugs to the United States through maritime means.

 

9/22/2011 4:05:22 PM Eric Matus says:
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From what I've heard, they didn't just stop. Nowadays the CG announces in Sspanish to move forward so they can shoot out the engine without injuring the occupants. Once they hear that they know that the next step is the firing of automatic weapons at the outboards so they just shut down. It too bad that the Navy's PHM fleet couldn't be modified, turned over to the USCG and used in drug interdiction. I guess they were just too expensive to operate. But how expensive is it to operate the Bear with one or two helos and several small boats?

The PHMs apparently were never considered for Persian Gulf duty either which seems to be another chance to prove the efficacy of hydrofoil technology. 1 PHM had the fire power of an FFG-7 with 50 Cals, an Otto Melara and Cruise Missiles and could go 45 Knots. We had a whole fleet of them and just decomm'd them. Seemed at the time a waste.

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