Approximately $6.2 million worth of marijuana seized by the Coast Guard

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsMIAMI — More than 6,500 pounds of marijuana seized during a joint effort between the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk and crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma was offloaded in Key West, Fla., Tuesday.

A joint crew, made of the Tahoma’s crew along with six crewmembers from the Mohawk, were operating aboard the Mohawk as the Tahoma undergoes a nine-month overhaul at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore as part of Coast Guard’s Mission Effectiveness Project. The crews are working together under the Coast Guard Atlantic Area’s MEP multi-crewing program.

Seventh Coast Guard District command center watchstanders received notification that the Jamaican-flagged fishing vessel Captain Richard was disabled and adrift in the Caribbean Sea, without fuel to operate its engines, more than 200 miles from the nearest port. Watchstanders then tasked the Coast Guard crew to provide assistance to the Captain Richard.

Shortly after arriving on scene, the combined crew took the 60-foot Captain Richard in tow. The Coast Guard received permission from the Government of Jamaica to conduct a law enforcement boarding of the vessel. Using advanced Coast Guard training, the boarding team discovered several hundred packages wrapped in plastic wrap and tape. The contents later tested positive for marijuana.

Upon discovering the contraband, the crew of the Captain Richard were taken into custody and transferred to the Mohawk along with approximately 6,500 pounds of marijuana with an estimated wholesale value of $6.2.

“Our crew’s response in this case highlight the proficiency, adaptability, and an on-scene initiative of Coast Guard men and women operating aboard similar platforms,” said Capt. Chris Mooradian, commanding officer of the Tahoma. “I am extremely proud of how the crew performed, and the response by the Mohawk demonstrates the operational effectiveness of the Coast Guard’s medium endurance cutter fleet and the need for offshore patrol capabilities to combat illicit trafficking in the Caribbean Sea.”

The Mohawk, Tahoma and the other medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by an Offshore Patrol Cutter. The new OPCs will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard’s maritime security and safety activities in support of national interests. The OPC will be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners, superior to the cutters they replace. Equipped with modern sensors, the Offshore Patrol Cutter will provide the enhanced surveillance necessary to detect threats far from U.S. shores and meet the demands of the Coast Guard’s homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement and other vital missions.

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