Coast Guard interdicts nearly $1 million in marijuana near Haiti

CARIBBEAN SEA - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant and Nantucket interdicted a vessel with more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana aboard north of Haiti May 14, 2011.  U.S. Coast Guard photo.

U.S. Coast Guard photo

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant interdicted a vessel carrying more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana and four suspected drug smugglers Saturday.

The Vigilant crew subsequently transferred the contraband, vessel, and four suspects to the Haitian coast guard in Cap Haitien, Haiti.

While on patrol, a Coast Guard Air Station Miami HU-25 Falcon aircrew alerted the crew of the Vigilant of a suspicious looking vessel equipped with two outboard engines north of Haiti.

The Vigilant crew launched its embarked MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and smallboat crew and coordinated with the Coast Guard Cutter Nantucket to interdict the suspect vessel. Upon seeing the boatcrew and the cutter Nantucket, the suspect vessel heaved to.

With permission from the Haitian government, Vigilant’s boarding team boarded the vessel and discovered 1,226 pounds of marijuana aboard.

“This at-sea drug interdiction was a complete team effort involving two Coast Guard aircraft, two cutters, and our international partners in Haiti,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Afip Castillo, a Vigilant machinery technician. “Today, we successfully disrupted the maritime drug trade and prevented nearly $1 million of illicit drugs from coming ashore.”

The Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla.
The Nantucket is a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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