The name “Coast Guard” can be a little deceiving. Many people don’t realize Coast Guardsmen are deployed around the world conducting a variety of military, law enforcement, regulatory and humanitarian missions. One of its most significant expeditionary missions is counter narcotics in the Western Hemisphere; more specifically, stopping drug smugglers in the “drug transit zones” of the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin.
Tag: South America
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.
Today, in the South Atlantic, maintaining international law is a collaborative effort involving a maritime presence from 15 countries. These 15 countries contribute to the multinational detection, monitoring and interdiction operation working together to deny transnational criminal organizations the ability to exploit transshipment routes for the movement of narcotics, precursor chemicals, bulk cash and weapons along Central American shipping routes.
Coast Guard Cutter Forward, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va., represented the United States alongside their shipmates from the USS Rentz. They were joined by naval forces from Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United Kingdom.
Relationships between the United States and countries in Central and South America are critical to the Coast Guard’s continuing efforts to intercept the flow of drugs in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, key maritime transit zones leading to the U.S. border. For one Coast Guardsman, building a partnership between two nations became a reality.