Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant returns home after $26 million cocaine bust

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsPORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant interdicted 2,046 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated wholesale value of more than $26 million from a vessel about 90 miles south of Punta Beata, Dominican Republic June 23, 2012.

A boarding team from the Vigilant deployed aboard the cutter’s small boat to intercept a 35-foot suspected smuggling vessel. Traveling at speeds exceeding 35 miles per hour, Vigilant’s boarding team pursued and stopped the vessel in international waters.

During the boarding, Vigilant’s boarding team discovered bales contraband on the vessel’s deck. The contraband later tested positive for cocaine. The team also detained three suspected smugglers.

Seizures at sea are the most efficient and cost-effective way to keep cocaine off the streets of America. Coast Guard cutters have interdicted more than 75,000 pounds of cocaine since Oct. 1, 2011, which is 25,000 lbs more than land based, U.S. law enforcement personnel seized in all of 2010.

Medium endurance cutters like the Vigilant are built for multi-month offshore patrols including operations requiring enhanced communications, and helicopter and pursuit boat operations, which provide a key capability for homeland security operations at sea.

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