Coast Guard HITRON Crew Returns from Successful Patrol

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron Jacksonville will host a media availability today at 5:30 p.m. on one of the first interdictions from the new MH-65C helicopter.

The HITRON crew involved in the pursuit will be available to discuss their experience, and the new MH-65C. The air crew was able to help seize more than 3,200 pounds of cocaine in international waters north of Panama in mid March.

The case began when the HITRON crew was dispatched to stop a suspected go-fast vessel spotted by a patrolling aircraft. The HITRON aircrew used warning shots and disabling fire to try and stop the go-fast. While the smugglers and go-fast eventually evaded capture, the Coast Guard recovered 50 bales of cocaine with an estimated value of $100 million.

HITRON recently began the planned transition from the use of leased, MH-68 Stingray helicopters to the use of Coast Guard MH-65C Dolphin helicopters. The MH-65C provides aircrews upgraded radio capabilities, a heads-up-display to enhance night operations and an Electro-optical Sensor System to enhance detection capabilities.

The 3,200 pounds of cocaine seized by HITRON and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bear were offloaded at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Thursday at 10 a.m. to federal agents.

The Cutter Bear is a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter based in Portsmouth, Va.

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