MIAMI — Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered offloaded approximately 2,300 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated wholesale value of $35 million, at Base Miami Beach Saturday.
On July 14, 2013, a deployed Coast Guard Air Station Miami aircrew aboard an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft located a go-fast vessel with suspicious packages visible onboard.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, received the report and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Legare to respond. The Legare launched a boatcrew and a helicopter crew with the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) to intercept the vessel. Upon detection, the suspected smugglers jettisoned 42 bales, which later tested positive for cocaine. The HITRON helicopter employed warning shots and disabling fire to compel the non-compliant go-fast to stop. Legare’s boarding team subsequently arrived on scene and detained the four suspected smugglers.
The interdiction was a result of Operation Unified Resolve, a Department of Homeland Security multi-agency law enforcement operation to support ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands being executed under the San Juan Regional Coordinating Mechanism (SJ ReCoM)/Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).
All the contraband was transferred to the Coast Guard Yered to be offloaded in Miami. The four suspected smugglers were transferred to law enforcement officials in Tampa, Fla.
The Cutter Legare is a 270-foot Medium-Endurance cutter, homeported in Portsmouth, Va.
The Cutter Robert Yered is a 154-foot Fast Response cutter, homeported in Miami.
The Robert Yered is the fourth Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter designed to conduct maritime drug interdiction, alien migrant interdiction, search and rescue, national defense, homeland security, living marine resources and other Coast Guard missions. This class of patrol boat is capable of deploying independently to execute Coast Guard missions and prevent potential threats from approaching our shores and offers vastly improved capabilities over the aging 110-foot Island class patrol boats it replaces. The Fast Response Cutter is part of the Coast Guard’s layered approach to maritime security that includes the National Security Cutter and the Offshore Patrol Cutter.
Photos of the offload can be viewed at the Coast Guard News Flickr page.