1,300 pounds of marijuana, 1 ton of cocaine, 10 migrants & 15 suspects

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Packages of cocaine line the deck of Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau after the crew, working in conjunction with the Panamanian navy, intercepted and seized the contraband from suspected smugglers. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Packages of cocaine line the deck of Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau after the crew, working in conjunction with the Panamanian navy, intercepted and seized the contraband from suspected smugglers. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Co-authored by Lt. Kevin Connell, Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau.

What have you been up to so far this year? Ask this question to any crewmember aboard Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau and they just might tell you about their interdiction of eight go-fast vessels, resulting in the disruption of more than one ton of cocaine, 1,300 pounds of marijuana, $12,000 of illicit cash, 10 migrants and the detention of 15 suspected smugglers.

Morgenthau’s crew, who recently returned from patrol, successfully executed nine maritime law enforcement cases during their three-month patrol in the Eastern Pacific. Their success was due to their ability to come together as a responsive and vigilant crew, no matter what the circumstances.

Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau and a Panamanian navy ship patrol together in search of illicit activity. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau and a Panamanian navy ship patrol together in search of illicit activity. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

With the countless variables operating in the Eastern Pacific present, the crew worked together to adapt and overcome. In one case, Morgenthau set out to intercept a suspect go-fast vessel in international waters after being alerted by a Coast Guard airplane. Response boat crews engaged in pursuit of the go-fast, as they witnessed the suspects throwing several bales of cocaine overboard.

The boat crew moved in on the suspects, but proved their agility and multi-mission might when the case moved from an interdiction to a rescue case. One of the suspects fell into the water and crews commenced a recovery operation. Due to the skilled boat crew, the suspect was recovered along with the bales. The go-fast was caught a short time later, and with contraband in tow, all three suspects were turned over to authorities ashore.

Morgenthau’s final counter-drug case was equally as challenging and began with a 60-mile pursuit by two of the cutter’s response boats. The crew was pushed to their limits as they spent nearly two hours in rough seas attempting to intercept the suspect go-fast vessel.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Smith, a boat engineer and gunner, was ready for the chase to be over with. He knew it wasn’t a matter of “if” they would catch the suspects, but “when.” He turned to Petty Officer 1st Class Jason McDaniel, the boat’s coxswain, and voiced the six words that would end the pursuit – “Let’s get this over with Boats.”

This encouragement was all McDaniel needed to push himself and the crew. The crew caught up with the go-fast and their teamwork led to the detainment of three suspected smugglers and the seizure of the cocaine.

Morgenthau couldn’t do it alone, however. In fact, an aviation detachment from HITRON – or the Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron based in Jacksonville, Fla. – was aboard during the duration of the patrol and completed more than 100 flight hours. Each of the nine cases Morgenthau executed was in conjunction with either Panamanian or Colombian naval forces or a little help from above in the form of Coast Guard HITRON.

Packages of cocaine are stacked on the deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau. The patrol resulted in the interception of more than one ton of cocaine, 1,300 pounds of marijuana and the apprehension of 10 migrants and 15 suspected smugglers. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Packages of cocaine are stacked on the deck of the Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau. The patrol resulted in the interception of more than one ton of cocaine, 1,300 pounds of marijuana and the apprehension of 10 migrants and 15 suspected smugglers. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

“The accomplishments of Morgenthau’s crew and the HITRON on this patrol were extraordinary,” said Rear Adm. Joseph Castillo, the 11th Coast Guard District commander. “The high level of performance sustained on this patrol shows the tenacity of these brave men and women and I appreciate the sacrifices they make to keep our nation safe.”

“The results of this patrol clearly show that flight-deck equipped cutters and helicopters working in tandem provide unmatched capability to patrol for prolonged periods, quickly interdict threats far from U.S. shores, respond to emergencies and protect the security and safety of all Americans,” added Castillo.

In command of Morgenthau through the operations was Capt. Gregory Burg, who completed his first trip as commanding officer of the cutter.

“This deployment is a true testament to the abilities of this crew,” said Burg. “Everyone did their job and did it very well. These successes are due to the incredible dedication of these young women and men that leave their families for months at a time to make a difference.”

Every crewmember was essential as Morgenthau protected Americans from the harm, violence and exploitation of transnational criminal networks. Their vigilance safeguarded the security and prosperity of American citizens and the citizens of partner nations. Whether it was food service specialists cooking to sustain the crew, or machinery technicians conducting fuel transfers to keep the boat going, the crew of this more than 42-year-old Coast Guard vessel all worked together through thick and thin in order to come home proud. Welcome home, Morgenthau. Job well done.

The men and women aboard Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
The men and women aboard Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

17 comments on “1,300 pounds of marijuana, 1 ton of cocaine, 10 migrants & 15 suspects”

  1. The article didn’t say whether the contraband was turned over to the host country for disposition.  If it went back to Columbia, it gets recycled onto another northbound boat.  I learned that when assigned to TACLET South back in 1994.  The smugglers we caught were more than happy to go back to Columbia and when transferred, walked around the Columbian naval vessel like they owned it.

    1. LEDETCoastie,

      If you click on the links to “case” you will find the press releases that provide what is publicly releasable for the two cases mentioned.

      In the first case, all three suspects were turned over to authorities ashore and transferred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida for prosecution under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act. With respect to the contraband in particular I am not quite sure.

      Hope that helps and thanks for commenting.

      Very Respectfully,
      Lt. Stephanie Young
      Coast Guard Public Affairs

  2. Awesome job Morgenthau glad to see the 378’s are still mentioned and used with all the talk and shows of the new ships of the Coast Guard Cutters and Kodiak Alaska. Ex coastie from the Sherman & Gallatin.  Go Coast Guard!!

  3. I’m a proud Mother of two sons serving in the Coast Guard.  My youngest son
     ENG2 Randy Rose serves on the Morganthau.  Great job Morganthau Crew!! You make us proud to be Americans!

  4. Wow what wonderful feeliging I have as I read this article and brought tears of pride to my eyes as I saw the photo of the crew.  I will share this article with my friends and family so all can share in the pride we have in our service men and woman.
    Proud Mom of a crew member on the Morganthau this tour.

  5. Our son, Cole Maupin, was/is aboard the Morgenthau and we could not be prouder!  All of these young men and women fill my heart to bursting with admiration.  I know they will keep up their great work because they are a GREAT CREW!  Thanks for your service, all of you.

  6. I’m another proud mom of a Morgenthau crew member.  I will proudly put this article on my FB page.  I want everyone to know about the great work our USCG does for our  country!   

  7. Congratulations to the crew or the Morgenthau which includes our daughter Victoria Mangio.  Great catch, it takes a well trained crew working together to accomplish such a difficult mission. Keep up the great work!

    One question…What are the pink stickers on the drug packages about? They look like Barbie stickers 🙂 

  8. Mighty Morg!!!!!!!!!! still going strong……
    @305bc8083c033a4f6563e73a2a4ce985:disqus                   from a shipmate 04 to 08

  9. I am a VERY PROUD Coastie Dad of an AUF Gunner currently at TACLET South but I am very proud of all our Coasties and the outstanding all you brave heroes do.

  10. I just wondered one thing, what is the reasoning for only posting a picture of cocaine? In some ways could this potentially be saying that it is a worse drug than marijuana? I totally agree with that standpoint, but according the US Government they are both in the same boat, why only present that in the picture when both are of the same illegality?

  11. In a free country, comments and posts and criticism should not be approved by a moderator, this is straight just changing truth, when you only put positive comments, it does change public opinion to your side, but in a way, you know it is false, but you work around it. Time will come when operations such as this will fall, always has, only took a few years to get public opinion on the opposing side, I will tell you now moderator that if you post everything and respond to everything, overall the outcome can be more positive than deleting everything that opposes your views. That’s the point of a comment.

  12. DON’T KNOW WHY THESE PEOPLE KEEP FIGHTING A WAR THEY ARE NEVER GOING TO WIN! HOPE THE BOAT CAPSIZES ON THEM ONE DAY! PEOPLE GOTTA “LIVE”. AND ONE WAY OR ANOTHER “WE” WILL! KEEP ON KEEPIN ON HONDURAS…AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE GAME AROUND THE WORLD!!! MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU…

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