Coast Guards newest Fast Response Cutters make history with $3 million drug busts

MIAMI — The crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Charles Sexton and Paul Clark teamed up this week in the first drug interdictions performed aboard the 154-foot fast response cutters, seizing an estimated 2,100 pounds of marijuana and 35 kilograms of cocaine worth a combined wholesale value of more than $3 million.

The crew of the Charles Sexton successfully stopped a go-fast vessel in the Caribbean Sea on the evening of May 3, with five people aboard. The Sexton’s crew spotted the suspect vessel and launched their smallboat crew to investigate. Upon seeing the Coast Guard crew the suspects aboard the vessel jettisoned bales of contraband into the water and attempted to flee. The Sexton smallboat crew successfully stopped the fleeing suspects and took all five into custody. The Sexton crew recovered approximately 1,895 pounds of marijuana and 35 kilograms of cocaine with a combined wholesale value of approximately $2.8 million from the water.

On May 2, a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew located a similar go-fast vessel in the vicinity of the Bahamas. The crew of the Paul Clark launched its smallboat crew, which was vectored to the suspect vessel’s location by an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew. The suspects fled, and abandoned their vessel off the coast of Haiti. The Paul Clark crew arrived on scene and recovered approximately 220 pounds of marijuana from the vessel with a wholesale value of approximately $199,600.

The Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters are replacing the Island-class patrol boats.

The FRC is capable of speeds in excess of 28-plus knots and is armed with one stabilized remotely operated 25-mm chain gun and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns. With speed, firepower and flexibility, the FRC delivers superior lifesaving, law enforcement and homeland security capabilities.

The Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton, commissioned into service March 8, 2014 is a Fast Response Cutter homeported in Key West, Florida.

The Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark, commissioned into service August 24, 2013 is a Fast Response Cutter homeported in Miami.

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