Cutter Escanaba returns after nabbing self propelled semi-submersible vessel smuggling cocaine

Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba crew stand next to approximately 12.4 tons of cocaine Dec. 7, 2017, aboard the cutter at Port Everglades Cruiseport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba offloaded the cocaine in Port Everglades worth an estimated $378 million wholesale interdicted in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean between mid-October and late November. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Woodall)

Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba crew stand next to approximately 12.4 tons of cocaine Dec. 7, 2017, aboard the cutter at Port Everglades Cruiseport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Woodall)

BOSTON — The crew of the 270-foot Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba “The Pride of Boston” returned to their homeport in Boston Thursday following a 64-day Eastern Pacific patrol that resulted in the seizure of 6.7 tons of cocaine worth an estimated $202 million in wholesale value.

The 6.7 tons of cocaine offloaded represents the interdiction of five separate suspected drug smuggling vessels, including a rare self propelled semi-submersible vessel (SPSS). Each of the interdictions took place in the drug transit zones off the coast of Central and South America. During Escanaba’s at-sea interdictions, suspected vessels were initially located and tracked by allied military or law enforcement personnel. The vessels were then confronted by Escanaba’s interceptor boats and eventually boarded by Coast Guard law enforcement personnel. The successful interdictions were a result of coordination between Escanaba’s crew and several partner agencies from Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF South).

“I am extremely proud of the professionalism and tireless dedication of our crew,” said Cmdr. Michael Turdo, commanding officer of the Escanaba. “Their contributions over the last two months directly support our government’s efforts to dismantle smuggling routes used by transnational criminal organizations, and interdict drugs at sea bound for the United States.”

Transiting from Boston through the Panama Canal to the Eastern Pacific and back, Escanaba’s 100 member crew traveled more than 13,000 nautical miles during the two-month patrol.

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