Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returns to Wilmington after successful drug-interdiction patrol

The Coast Guard Cutter Diligence transits through the Florida Straights near Key West, Florida, May 31, 2016. The Diligence recently returned to its homeport of Wilmington, North Carolina following a 53-day patrol. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard Cutter Diligence file photo

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned to Wilmington from a successful 65-day counter-drug patrol in the Eastern Pacific today.

The crew interdicted four high speed suspected smuggling vessels, detained 13 suspected drug traffickers and seized approximately 2,850 kilograms of cocaine, worth an estimated $90 million.

In addition to conducting law enforcement activities, the Diligence crew crossed into the southern hemisphere, a historic first for many crew members. The equator crossing is a major milestone for mariners and is celebrated with a formal ceremony.

During their patrol, the crew also spotted and rescued three sea turtles entangled in debris and nets. The crew freed the turtles and released them back into the wild unharmed.

“I am extremely pleased with the professionalism, dedication, and success of Diligence’s crew,” said Cmdr. Rob Mohr, the cutter’s commanding officer. “The crew remarkably adapted to the dynamic operational tempo and superbly responded to reports of suspect vessels at all hours of the day and night. Their tremendous efforts prevented nearly three tons of cocaine from entering the U.S. I am overwhelmed with pride to serve alongside this phenomenal crew.”

Overall surveillance and counter-smuggling patrols in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean are coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South, a national task force headquartered in Florida that executes detection and monitoring of illicit trafficking across all domains.

The law enforcement phase of the counter-drug mission in the Eastern Pacific occurs under the tactical control of the Eleventh Coast Guard District in Alameda, California.

Coast Guard Cutter Diligence is a 53-year-old, 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter homeported in Wilmington whose crew executes maritime law enforcement, homeland security, search and rescue, and environmental protection missions in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

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