The Coast Guard cutter Resolute (WMEC 620) and crew returned Monday from a 60-day counterdrug patrol and offloaded approximately $55 million of illicit narcotics in St. Petersburg, Fla..
Patrolling in support of Joint Interagency Task Force - South, the Resolute crew stopped two suspected drug trafficking ventures, preventing 6,565 lbs. of marijuana and approximately 3,700 lbs. of cocaine from entering the U.S., and detained six suspected traffickers.
Supporting the Resolute was an embarked MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew from the Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, and a law enforcement detachment from Tactical Law Enforcement Team - South.
During the patrol, the Resolute’s crew met with Panama’s National Aeronaval Service to strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and Panama, and discuss strategies to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
"Despite being deployed throughout the holiday season, the crew served with professionalism," said Cmdr. Matthew R. Kolodica, commanding officer of the Resolute. "The result of their collected effort was an extremely successful patrol which kept $55 million dollars of drugs from reaching its intended destination. Every Resolute sailor and their loved ones should be proud."
The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea requires a unity of effort in all phases, from detection and monitoring to interdiction and apprehension, through criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation, the Coast Guard said. Joint Interagency Task Force - South in Key West, Florida conducts the detection and monitoring of aerial and maritime transit of illegal drugs. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District, headquartered in Alameda, California, and the law enforcement phase of operations in the Caribbean is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 7th District, headquartered in Miami. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the Coast Guard.
These interdictions relate to Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) designated investigations. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the U.S. using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multiagency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
Resolute is a 210', Reliance-class medium endurance cutter homeported in St. Petersburg with a crew of 80. The cutter’s primary missions include law enforcement, search and rescue, protection of living marine resources, homeland security and defense operations, international training and humanitarian operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.