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.