Cutter Harriet Lane cutter returns home after seizing $8.5 million in Caribbean Sea

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane will return to their homeport of Portsmouth, Va., Thursday night following a successful 45-day counter-drug and annual training deployment.

While deployed to the Caribbean Sea, the crew disrupted several suspected go-fast vessel operations, including an interdiction netting $8.5 million in cash, potentially one of the largest cash seizures in Coast Guard and Joint Interagency Task Force South history.

The Harriet Lane crew detected a suspicious go-fast vessel departing Panama while patrolling international waters June 21. The Coast Guard launched a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron in Jacksonville, Fla., embarked with the Harriet Lane to further investigate the vessel.

The helicopter crew fired warning shots and then used disabling fire to disable the vessel after the go-fast operators failed to stop as ordered.

The crew of the helicopter observed the men aboard the go-fast throwing multiple bales into the water, which were later recovered revealing the cash.

The four Colombian crewmembers of the go-fast vessel were detained, brought to Coast Guard Sector San Juan in Puerto Rico, and transferred to law enforcement officials for further investigation.

Immediately following the Caribbean patrol, the Harriet Lane crew endured Tailored Annual Cutter Training, an intense series of shipboard drills to maintain mission readiness, in Little Creek, Va.

“We have been as busy as ever with Coast Guard operations, crew training and exercising our many shipboard drills to maintain the highest levels of cutter mission readiness,” said Cmdr. J. W. McKinley, Harriet Lane’s commanding officer. “We are very much looking forward to reuniting with our families and friends following our patrol.”

The Harriet Lane is one of six 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth.

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