Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant returns to Port Canaveral, Fla., following 50-day patrol

Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant

USCG file photo

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – The crew of the Port Canaveral based Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant will return to homeport Friday at 9 a.m. concluding a 50-day Joint Interagency Task Force-South counter narcotics patrol.

The crew of the Cutter Vigilant departed Port Canaveral Sept. 10 to conduct homeland security, law enforcement, and counter-drug operations.

While underway in the Eastern Caribbean, the crew of the vigilant worked closely with domestic and international partners to include the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, St. Lucian Marine Police, Dominican Coast Guard, and the Dutch Navy, in order to locate and stop vessels transporting narcotics to the United States.

Most notably, 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 non-compliant small boat pursuit team 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.

The VIGILANT is a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter.

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