Coast Guard cutter returns with $174 million worth of seized cocaine

Bales of cocaine lie in the hull of a suspected smuggling vessel intercepted by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, August 17, 2019.


By JACK PERRY | The Providence Journal, R.I. | Published: September 27, 2019

BOSTON (Tribune News Service) — A U.S. Coast Guard cutter out of Boston returned to port Friday after offloading nearly $174 million worth of cocaine the Coast Guard seized in operations off the coasts of Mexico, Central America and South America, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard says the drugs were bound for the United States.

The Seneca offloaded the 12,000 pounds of cocaine in Miami on Sept. 20 before sailing to its home port in Boston's North End. The estimated street value of the cocaine is $174 million, according to the Coast Guard.

The 270-foot Seneca, with a crew of 100, spent 93 days patrolling the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Four cutters, including the Seneca, were responsible for the seizures. According to the Coast Guard, the Seneca had two cases, seizing about 2,800 pounds of cocaine; the Tahoma, out of Kittery, Maine, had three interdictions, seizing about 2,500 pounds of cocaine; the Midgett, out of Honolulu, had two, seizing about 5,700 pounds of cocaine; and the Valiant, out of Jacksonville, Florida, had one case and about 1,000 pounds of cocaine.

The Seneca also worked with an armed Coast Guard helicopter from a tactical squadron in Jacksonville, Florida.

The interdiction efforts were in support of Operation Martillo, a regional effort targeting "illicit trafficking that threatens security and prosperity at the national, regional, and international levels," the Coast Guard said.

"Counter-drug operations are a vital component to the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security's mission and our national security," said Cmdr. John Christensen, commanding officer of the cutter Seneca. "I am exceptionally proud of this crew who, over the course of the last three months, rose above the challenges of conducting operations at sea, persevered through many personal sacrifices and showed an unwavering dedication to serving our nation."

In addition to the drug work, the Seneca rescued 22 Haitian migrants, conducted joint exercises with the Honduran Navy and transited the Panama Canal, the Coast Guard said.

©2019 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)
Visit The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.) at www.projo.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

from around the web