Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant nabs $1.5 million in cocaine

Cutter Vigilant boarding team with cocaine traffickers. Coast Guard photo

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Two bales of cocaine interdicted in the Eastern Caribbean Sea by Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant crewmembers was turned over to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials in Key West, Fla., Monday.

Vigilant crewmembers received a report of a 40-foot northbound vessel transiting toward Dominica Sept. 28. Vigilant crewmembers responded by sending a boarding team on its small boat to intercept. Traveling at speeds exceeding 35 miles per hour, Vigilant’s boarding team pursued the vessel for more than two hours and eventually stopped the vessel in international waters.

During the chase, Vigilant’s boarding team witnessed the vessel’s crew throw two bales of contraband into the water. The team marked the position of the contraband, which Vigilant personnel later recovered. The contraband tested positive for cocaine. Following the intercept and search of the vessel, the crew safely detained 10 suspected cocaine traffickers and transferred them to Venezuelan officials.

The seized cocaine has an estimated street value of more than $1.5 million.

“This truly demonstrates the efficiency and effectiveness of our Coast Guard when working as a team with our international partners,” said Cmdr. Brian Fiedler, Vigilant’s commanding officer.

Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter home ported in Port Canaveral.

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