Cutter Tahoma Offloads 4,620 Pounds of Cocaine

MIAMI – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma turned over 4,620 pounds of cocaine to federal agents in Key West, Fla., Tuesday, following an at sea interdiction with the help of the Jacksonville, Fla., based Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) 144 miles northeast of Honduras, April 25.

The HITRON aircrew initially located the vessel and once on scene, a Tahoma law enforcement team conducted an extensive search of the fishing vessel.The crew located two hidden compartments filled with 95 bales of cocaine worth an estimated street value of $61.5 million.

“This successful interdiction was due to the hard work of the crew of Tahoma in close coordination with our embarked helicopter and numerous personnel from our partner agencies,” stated Cmdr. Greg Hitchen, commanding officer of the Cutter Tahoma.

The eight suspected smugglers have been transferred to federal agents as a result of Tahoma’s law-enforcement actions.

In February, Tahoma busted the fishing vessel OSIRIS II in another counter-narcotics mission. Between the two busts, crews have succesfully seized 5,670 pounds of cocaine and 71 pounds of heroin.

The Tahoma is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter from Portsmouth, N.H., that routinely deploys to the Caribbean Sea more than six months a year to conduct law enforcement, search and rescue, humanitarian, and national defense missions.

The HITRON is based at Cecil Field in Jacksonville conducting routine training along the St. Johns River and off the coast of Jacksonville’s beaches. HITRON crews deploy on cutters patrolling known drug transit zones in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean to stop smuggling go-fast boats.

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