Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma returns to Portsmouth after 63-day patrol

A Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron crew returns to Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma during operations in the Caribbean March 23, 2015. Together, HITRON and the Tahoma crews interdicted approximately 1,100 pound of cocaine and three suspected smugglers while on patrol. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ensign Efrain Rosa)

A Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron crew returns to Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma during operations in the Caribbean. Together,  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ensign Efrain Rosa)

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter, returned to their homeport at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Sunday after a 63-day patrol conducting operations and training in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

While on patrol, the Tahoma crew worked with the Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron to successfully interdict over 1,100 pounds of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of about $16 million dollars from a suspicious go fast vessel headed toward Puerto Rico. The cocaine and three suspected smugglers were transferred from the Tahoma to Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba for transport to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agents took them into custody. The interdiction was the result of a multi-agency law enforcement effort in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.

The Tahoma crew also conducted extensive training, including damage control and navigation drills, boat tactics, gunnery exercises, and worked with Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater and the Jacksonville, Florida based HITRON to carry out operations with the MH-60 and MH-65 helicopters.

“The crew performed superbly in executing our assigned missions in support of Joint Interagency Task Force South,” said Cmdr. Willie Carmichael, commanding officer of the Tahoma. “We enjoyed working with the highly professional crews from HITRON and our interagency partners to secure our maritime border south of Puerto Rico.

The Tahoma is homeported at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and conducts maritime law enforcement, homeland security, and search and rescue missions in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

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