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Virginia-based Coast Guard cutter seized $252 million in cocaine

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Northland's law enforcement team performs a joint exercise at sea with Nicaraguan Naval Forces Jan. 25, 2018, as part of an 81-day patrol conducting counter drug operations in the Eastern Pacific.

SAMUEL N. WILLIAMS/U.S. COAST GUARD

By BROCK VERGAKIS | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: February 16, 2018

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Tribune News Service) — A Portsmouth-based Coast Guard cutter is back at its home port after seizing $252 million worth of cocaine during a drug patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

The Northland interdicted five vessels, detained 16 suspected drug traffickers and seized 7,564 kilograms of cocaine during its 81-day deployment, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said the Northland also conducted exercises with the Naval Forces of the Army of Nicaragua, planted 1,000 trees in a local national park, and traveled to an elementary school to repaint facilities for the students.

"The phenomenal accomplishments of this patrol were the result of the outstanding performance of our entire crew," Cmdr. Marc Brandt, commanding officer of the Northland, said in a statement. “When operations, international engagements, equipment casualties, or logistics needs extended our work hours or changes our schedule, this crew was completely dedicated to overcoming challenges by working together."

The Northland is a 270-foot ship whose crew conducts maritime law enforcement, homeland security and search and rescue missions throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The Northland returned to Portsmouth on Thursday.

©2018 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
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