Coast Guard Cutter Dependable crew returns home after multinational cocaine seizures

Coast Guard Cutter Dependable file photo

Coast Guard Cutter Dependable file photo

Virginia Beach, Va. — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Dependable returned to Virginia Beach Thursday afternoon after a successful two-month patrol in support of Joint Interagency Task Force-South.

The Dependable’s crew patrolled the Eastern Pacific Ocean and interdicted two suspected smuggling vessels, seizing more than five and one-half tons of cocaine valued at approximately $146 million.

The contraband was seized during a Department of Homeland Security Joint Task Force-East led coordination among various DHS agencies and the Department of Justice. It showcases the threat posed by dangerous cartels, gangs and criminal groups that make up extensive transnational criminal organizations, and highlights the commitment of JTF-E, the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard’s interagency partners’ efforts to detect, interdict, investigate and prosecute operatives for these criminal networks.

A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, based in Jacksonville, Florida, embarked aboard the Dependable and provided the cutter with airborne use-of-force capabilities. Over the course of the patrol, HITRON completed 60 ship-helicopter evolutions and provided valuable training to Dependable’s flight deck crew.

During their patrol of vast areas of the drug transit zones in the Eastern Pacific, Dependable’s crew coordinated with several other U.S. Coast Guard cutters, as well as ships from the Royal Canadian Navy and Ecuadorian Coast Guard.

The Dependable is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter with a crew of over 75. The crew conducts homeland security missions in the offshore waters of the Western Hemisphere from New England to the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific.

Nearing its 50th year of service, Cutter Dependable and the other 26 aging medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by new offshore patrol cutters in 2021.

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