12 Mar Coast Guard Efforts Give Cocaine Smugglers the Blues
A recent joint effort between the United States Coast Guard and the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) managed to intercept $37 million worth of cocaine.
On January 28, 2014, a Coast Guard aircraft (HC-144 Ocean Sentry) spotted suspicious movement on open waters south of the Dominican Republic. A 25-foot boat with four passengers was racing through the waves. Aboard the boat, officers spotted packages which attracted their interest. An RFA Wave Knight was in position and from its deck an armed Coast Guard helicopter was launched in pursuit.
The helicopter fired several warning shots, which resulted in individuals on board the boat tossing the suspicious packages into the ocean as the boat attempted to outrace pursuers. Those efforts proved fruitless and the boat was eventually stopped and boarded by U.S. Coast Guard officials.
The cutter Sitkinak is a 110-foot patrol craft. Sitkinak was used to unload 2,500 pounds of the drugs. The interdiction represents the first time that an armed helicopter of the United States Coast Guard took off from the deck of another nation’s military watercraft in order to take part in counter-drug operations.
Coast Guard officials commenting on the successful operation credit the Coast Guard, its international partners and the Joint Interagency Task Force South. This cooperative effort is a sign of the Coast Guard’s commitment to working more closely with international partners in the effort to prevent illegal drugs from landing on American soil.
This particular operation was part of concerted efforts to halt the flow of drugs and inland trafficking in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The success of the combined forces in making such a large drug interdiction proves that when working together, an impact can be made on the large flow of illegal drugs into this country. In this case, the return can be measured in tens of millions of dollars, but the savings in human suffering would be much harder to calculate.
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