Coast Guard Cutter Disrupts Two Suspected Smuggling Attempts

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Reliance disrupted two alleged smuggling operations this weekend in the Florida Straits.

The Reliance was notified by the crew of a Customs and Border Protection aircraft that a 30-foot go-fast vessel was traveling toward the United States with two people on board.

A Reliance boarding team was deployed to intercept the “go-fast” vessel. The two men aboard the vessel were found to be in violation of immigration laws during the boarding and were detained.

The suspected smugglers were transferred to the Reliance and their vessel was seized. The Reliance crew spotted another go-fast vessel in the Florida Straits heading toward U.S. territorial waters.

The suspected smugglers were transferred to Coast Guard Cutter Reliance and their vessel was seized.

The Reliance crew spotted another go-fast vessel in the Florida Straits heading toward U.S. territorial waters. A Reliance crew pursued the vessel using their rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB). A law enforcement crew from Coast Guard Station Key West, Fla., also pursued the vessel. The vessel was eventually stopped and the men on board were found to be in violation of U.S. immigration laws and were detained.

In both cases, the suspected smugglers were transferred to CBP for further questioning. Both vessels were seized as well.

“This event illustrates the importance of cooperation and interoperability of Homeland Security agencies,” said Cmdr. Webster Balding, commanding officer of the Reliance. “With the valuable assistance of Customs and Border Protection aircraft, the Coast Guard is more able to effectively secure our maritime borders.”

The Reliance is homeported in Portsmouth, N.H., and was commissioned in 1964. It is the oldest cutter serving in the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Fleet.

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