“Our crew used their unique capabilities and authorities as a military service, law enforcement agency, and member of the U.S. intelligence community to disrupt transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific and keep drugs from making it to the U.S.,” said Capt. Edward A. Westfall, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell. “These illegal drug networks are dangerous breeding grounds for all types of trafficking and their immense profits fuel violence and instability.”
Sometimes a person gets a weird feeling in the pit of their stomach because there is more to a situation than meets the eye. This feeling is commonly referred to as a person’s “sixth sense.” Coast Guard boarding officers are trained to follow that “sixth sense” while they’re conducting counter narcotics operations in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Basin. That’s exactly what happened to Petty Officer Matthew Baasch and a boarding team from the Cutter Bertholf when they climbed aboard the fishing vessel Goliat I off the coast of Colombia on June 28.
If you speak with Coast Guardsmen from the 1st Coast Guard District – stretching from the Canadian border in Maine to northern New Jersey – about the missions they routinely perform, you will likely get a standard answer from just about every member: search and rescue, recreational boating safety, aids to navigation, ports waterways and coastal security, living marine resource enforcement and ice breaking. But if you ask the crew underway aboard Coast Guard Cutter Dependable last week, they would answer counter drug operations.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Blake Wagner (left) and Lt. j.g. Eric Watkins of Pacific Area Tactics and Law Enforcement Team stand ready for training taking place on Coast Guard Island, Aug. 16, 2011. An Air National Guard aircrew assisted the MSST 91104 unit and four members of PACTACLET train for an upcoming deployment to the
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
2011 marked a year of exceptional security operations for the men and women of the 7th Coast Guard District. In addition to stopping the first-ever drug sub found in Caribbean waters, crews operating in the 7th District went on to interdict an unprecedented three more in rapid succession. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Seneca made the first interdiction and marked the first time the Coast Guard successfully completed an underwater drug recovery.
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Waesche, homeported in Alameda, interdicted two separate drug smuggling vessels. One case included the recovery of 13 bales of cocaine, totaling 500 kilograms, and five suspects. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Cutter Waesche. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche, the service’s second national security cutter, just returned from its
Rear Adm. Bill Baumgartner, commander of the 7th Coast Guard District, congratulates the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Cypress during the contraband offload. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael De Nyse. While some claim 13 is an unlucky number, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk would disagree. In just 13
Crewmembers from Coast Guard Cutter Diligence transfer bales of cocaine onto the cutter in the Caribbean Sea. U.S. Coast Guard photo. The Coast Guard has been America’s first line of defense against threats delivered by and from the high seas for decades. While on patrol last month in the Caribbean the men and women aboard
UPDATE: Paragraph three was updated to include Customs and Border Protection’s contributions to the drug interdiction operation, and paragraph five was updated to clarify the SPSS was the first Caribbean interdiction by the U.S. Coast Guard. Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Oak, homeported in Charleston, S.C., offload 15,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $180