Coast Guard Cutter Seneca returns to Boston following $63 million drug bust

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca, homeported in Boston, is shown while underway in the Eastern Pacific in August 2015. During the deployment, the Seneca crew interdicted five vessels resulting in the apprehension of 15 suspected narcotics traffickers, and approximately 3.5 tons of cocaine with a street value of nearly $63 million. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca, homeported in Boston, is shown while underway in the Eastern Pacific in August 2015.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

BOSTON — The Coast Guard Cutter Seneca returned to its homeport in Boston Saturday morning following a 70-day, 15,000 mile deployment combating international drug trafficking and migrant interdiction operations.

During the Florida Straits and Pacific Ocean patrol, Seneca’s crew, along with an armed Coast Guard helicopter crew, interdicted five go-fast type vessels carrying cocaine from South America bound for the United States.

The interdiction of these vessels resulted in the apprehension of 15 suspected narcotics traffickers, and approximately 3.5 tons of cocaine with a street value of nearly $63 million.

The Coast Guard and partner agencies operating in the Eastern Pacific Ocean near Central and South America have seized more cocaine in the last 10 months than in 2012 through 2014 combined.

“This crew’s dedication to operational excellence is inspiring,” said Cmdr. Jason Brennell, Seneca’s commanding officer. “Their efforts over the past two months have absolutely had a positive impact towards stemming the flow of transnational crime in the Western Hemisphere. I am extremely proud of what they have accomplished.”

Also while on patrol, Seneca’s crew rescued and cared for more than 100 Cuban migrants who had attempted to sail from Cuba to the United States in unsafe and unseaworthy vessels.

The Coast Guard Cutter Seneca is a 270-foot Medium-Endurance Cutter. Seneca’s missions include protecting living marine resources, counter-narcotics, migrant interdiction, and search and rescue operations.

Nearing its 29th anniversary serving America, Seneca and the other 26 aging medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by a new class of cutters.

The new Offshore Patrol Cutter 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 OPC 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.

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