ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Coast Guard Cutter Stratton returned to its homeport of Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Calif., after a 114-day Joint Interagency Task Force South counter drug patrol, Wednesday, to reunite with family members and loved ones.
While underway, on June 16 and July 18, Stratton seized two separate self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessels carrying a total of 22,345 pounds of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. In addition to the SPSS cases, Stratton interdicted six go-fast vessels smuggling more than 6,248 pounds of contraband. 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 fiscal years 2012 through 2014 combined.
In addition to the counter narcotics mission, Stratton’s crew conducted a broad range of operations including search and rescue, maritime surveillance, international partner building, and community outreach. While on patrol, the cutter’s multi-mission capabilities provide greater stability throughout the Western Hemisphere and protect our nation’s borders.
While in San Diego, Stratton conducted one of the largest known cocaine offloads in Coast Guard history, with an estimated worth of more than $1.01 billion. The drugs were seized in 23 separate interdictions by U.S. Coast Guard cutters and U.S. Navy vessels with embarked Coast Guard Law enforcement teams in known drug smuggling transit zones. The Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zukunft attended to commemorate the historic event.
Coast Guard Cutter Stratton is a 418 foot National Security Cutter and is the third of eight planned National Security Cutters which are capable of extended, worldwide deployment in support of homeland security and defense missions. Cutters like Stratton routinely conduct operations from South America to the Arctic where their unmatched combination of range, speed, and ability to operate in extreme weather provides the mission flexibility necessary to conduct counter-narcotics, homeland security, and alien migrant interdiction operations, domestic fisheries protection, search and rescue, and other Coast Guard missions at great distances from shore keeping threats far from the U.S. mainland.