The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) and crew returned to Alameda, Calif., Saturday, after traveling over 18,000 nautical miles during a 77-day counter-narcotic patrol throughout the Eastern Pacific Ocean.Bertholf’s crew conducted multiple boardings of suspected drug-smuggling vessels while patrolling international waters off the coasts of Central and South America supporting Joint Interagency Task Force-South. The boardings led to the detainment of multiple suspected drug smugglers and the interdiction of more than 1,050 pounds of cocaine.The Bertholf crew offloaded the seized cocaine and more than 4,000 pounds of marijuana that was interdicted by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell (WMEC 909), worth a combined total of more than $18 million in San Diego.A Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Squadron (HITRON) MH-65E Dolphin helicopter and aircrew from Jacksonville, Fla., augmented Bertholf’s crew during the patrol. HITRON crews deploy aboard cutters to interdict vessels suspected of illicit smuggling throughout drug transit zones across the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean.The largest interdiction during the patrol was a joint effort between the Bertholf and the El Salvadorian Coast Guard. The crews worked together to interdict a 60' low-profile vessel.During the patrol, the Bertholf’s crew also worked with Costa Rican counterparts to interdict a vessel that was suspected of being a supply vessel for go-fasts carrying excess fuel and parts.In addition to law enforcement operations, Bertholf's crew hosted the U.S. ambassador to Ecuador and multiple high-ranking Ecuadorian officials during a port call in Manta, Ecuador.
December 15, 2022