Charleston Cutter Returns From Successful Drug Patrol

CHARLESTON, S.C. -Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, from Charleston, will return Friday at 1 p.m. after a successful 66-day counter drug patrol in the Caribbean Sea.

The cutter Dallas intercepted five bales totaling 450 pounds of cocaine, worth approximately $6 million import value, from an aircraft attempting to drop the cocaine to a small-smuggling boat March 21. Boarding teams from the Dallas moved in quickly, picked up the bales from the water and disrupted the smuggling attempt. The cutter Dallas offloaded the 450 pounds of cocaine in Mayport, Fla. today and an additional 9,000 pounds from two separate busts from other Coast Guard cutters in the Eastern Pacific.

The crew of the Dallas arrived in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, March 15 for a scheduled stop to assist and interact in the local community. The Human Relations Committee aboard Dallas raised more than $600 from the crew while underway. The funds were used by the crew to buy supplies to repair and beautify an abandoned, 40-year-old warehouse that had been converted into a school, and to provide supplies to an orphanage.

The Coast Guard and French forces teamed up together for the first time since 2005 when the Dallas and French forces from Martinique worked together on a counter narcotics mission while out on patrol.

The Dallas command also had the honor of promoting eight crew members and awarding Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Jones of Orlando, Fla., as “Sailor of the Quarter” this patrol. “Sailor of the Quarter” honors a member of the crew who best demonstrates the Coast Guard core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty through dedicated performance and a strong work ethic.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Agelica Hopkins-Slayton of the Dallas was selected as the 2006 Atlantic Area Enlisted Person of the Year from over 7,000 Atlantic Area personnel. She was also selected as the Low Country Sailor of the Year Afloat.

The following shipmates received promotions during the patrol: Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Walker of Winter Springs, Fla., Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Davis of Clearwater, Fla., Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Hartenstine of Jacksonville, N.C., Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeremy Riley of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Petty Officer 2nd Class Gary Smedley of Honolulu, Petty Officer 1st Class Dallas Hufton of Edenton, N.C., Senior Chief Petty Officer Richardo Sesman of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and Lt. j.g. Dixon Whitley of Albuquerque, N.M.

The Dallas is a 378-foot high endurance cutter that spends more than six months away from its home port of Charleston conducting missions such as drug interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, homeland security and national defense.

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