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.