SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter William Trump transferred custody Saturday of two Guyanese and three Jamaican smugglers as well as 215 pounds of cocaine, interdicted by the Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless aboard a Guyanese fishing vessel July 2 in the Caribbean Sea.
The interdiction was the result of a multi-agency law enforcement effort in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force. The seized contraband has an estimated wholesale value of $3.2 million dollars.
“The crew of Dauntless performed flawlessly under challenging conditions to complete this law enforcement mission,” said Cmdr. Charles “Fritz” Kuebler, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless commanding officer. “This is a great way to start our counter-drug patrol here in the Caribbean. We are glad these drugs will not reach our streets and we hope this interdiction will help investigatory agencies dismantle the transnational organized crime networks that threaten the security and prosperity of the U.S. and our Caribbean neighbors.”
While on a routine patrol the afternoon of July 2, the crew of the Dauntless detected a suspicious fishing vessel named Chrispoph, approximately 170 miles south of the Dominican Republic with five people and possible contraband on board.
The Coast Guard contacted the Guyanese government, which confirmed the Guyanese registry of the Chrispoph and authorized the Coast Guard to stop, board, and search the vessel.
The Dauntless boarding team proceeded to go on board the Chrispoph, and during a preliminary search of the fishing vessel, located five bales carrying 98 packages of suspected contraband. While still on board the fishing vessel, the boarding team received information from the master and confirmed that the vessel was taking on water due to a broken shaft seal.
For safety of life at sea, the Dauntless embarked the suspected smugglers and contraband which later tested positive for cocaine. Despite efforts by the Dauntless crew to run multiple pumps to keep the water out of the fishing vessel, the uncontrollable flooding caused the vessel to sink.
Dauntless transferred the cocaine and suspected smugglers to the William Trump for transport to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they were taken into custody by special agents from the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.
The Coast Guard’s efforts under Operation Unified Resolve contribute to the interagency results being achieved locally each and every day under Operation Caribbean Guard, which coordinates efforts between the Coast Guard, DHS and Commonwealth and Territorial law enforcement partners, who are working diligently to deter, detect and disrupt illicit maritime trafficking to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Dauntless is a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter homeported in Galveston, Texas. The ship and crew execute maritime law enforcement, homeland security, and search and rescue missions in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.
The Coast Guard Cutter William Trump is a 154-foot Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.