MIAMI — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Legare offloaded 39 bales of cocaine with a wholesale value of more than $24 million and transferred four suspected drug smugglers to Homeland Security Investigations gents in Key West, Fla., Monday.
While conducting a law-enforcement patrol, the crew of a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, Calif., located a suspicious go-fast vessel with four people aboard on Feb. 28. 2013, in the western Caribbean Sea.
The cutter Legare and its embarked helicopter crew from the Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) based out of Jacksonville, Fla., interdicted the suspect vessel. The Legare’s boarding team subsequently conducted a law enforcement boarding and discovered 39 bales of contraband, which tested positive for cocaine.
The cutter Legare is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.
Medium endurance cutters like the Legare are slated for replacement by new Offshore Patrol Cutters. 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 OPCs 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.