Since June, the CGC Dolphin has made two drug seizures totaling over 2,300 pounds of marijuana valued at over $2 million. The cutter Dolphin, an 87-foot Marine Protector-class Coastal Patrol Boat (CPB) based in Miami, is quickly making a name for itself as one of the fleet’s most successful drug interdiction units.
Dolphin’s busts would have accounted for almost 10 percent of all marijuana seizures in 2008. So how does one cutter become such a major factor in stopping the flow of marijuana into the United States?
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Peter Lang credits a hard charging 12-member crew with a great work ethic for the success.
“The crew is awesome,” LT Lang said. “They love the mission of illegal drug and undocumented migrant interdiction and are highly motivated to see their hard work pay off by stopping these drugs from ending up on the streets in the United States.”
The recent drug busts are the first in the Dolphin’s five year history. The Dolphin is one of 69 CPB multi-mission platforms currently in service and focused on homeland security, maritime law enforcement and search and rescue. In carrying out its drug and migrant interdiction missions the Dolphin averages 60 boardings a year.
Both drug seizures occurred while patrolling off the coast of Bimini, Bahamas. The first seizure took place on June 13th when the Dolphin crew boarded a 29-foot U.S. flagged vessel to conduct an initial safety inspection and made a plain view discovery of the marijuana on board.
The second took place on October 4th in the same vicinity as the first bust during a routine law enforcement patrol. The crew conducted an at-sea law enforcement boarding of a suspicious 35-foot vessel and discovered the marijuana.
As the lead federal agency for maritime drug interdiction, the Coast Guard is on the front lines in stemming the flow of illegal drugs to the United States. According to Coast Guard law enforcement statistics, in 2008 the Coast Guard stopped a total of 367,926 pounds of cocaine and 22,173 pounds of marijuana from reaching the United States.
As part of a time-honored tradition, Coast Guard cutters that make drug seizures earn a marijuana leaf sticker, representing a marijuana bust, or a snowflake sticker, representing a cocaine bust, to display on the side of the bridge.
“We wear our stickers as badges of honor,” LT Lang said. The cutter will receive its second marijuana leaf sticker next week. “We look forward to putting on our second marijuana leaf,” he said.
Thanks to exceptional leadership and a vigilant, highly motivated crew, the Dolphin has distinguished itself as a leader on the front lines of maritime drug interdiction. The Dolphin crew has earned a well deserved Semper Paratus and Bravo Zulu!
To see more pictures of these and other Coast Guard drug busts, click here and search the gallery for “drug bust.”
Do you know someone in the Coast Guard that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations for Guardian of the Week using the submit button at the top of the page.