Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau crew seizes cocaine and three suspected smugglers

11th Coast Guard District NewsPACIFIC OCEAN – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau, a 378-foot cutter homeported at Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Calif., seized approximately 140 pounds of cocaine and apprehended three suspected smugglers earlier this month in the Eastern Pacific Ocean approximately 250 miles south of Guatemala.

A suspicious vessel was spotted in international waters by a U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft on Jan. 8. The crew of the Morgenthau set an intercept course and engaged in pursuit of the boat as the suspects threw several bales of cocaine overboard. The bales, along with one of the suspects who fell overboard during the chase, were recovered, and the remaining two suspects were taken into custody when the boat was caught a short time later. All three suspects were turned over to authorities ashore and transferred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida for prosecution under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act.

Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by the Joint Interagency Task Force, South (JIATF-S) headquartered in Key West, Fla. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occurs under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District based in Alameda, Calif.

The Morgenthau has a crew of approximately 165 personnel whose missions include search and rescue, drug and migrant interdiction, fisheries and maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection and homeland security.

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