Cutter Waesche returning home after successful counter-narcotics patrol

Coast Guard District 11 NewsAlameda, Calif. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche returns to its homeport here, Monday at approximately 2 p.m., following a three-month deployment in the Pacific Ocean during which the cutter and crew interdicted two separate drug smuggling vessels within a 36-hour period.

On Oct. 14 a helicopter deployed from Waes spotted the Costa Rican flagged fishing vessel Miss Jacky about 300 miles southeast of Puntarenas, Coast Rica. Shortly thereafter, Miss Jacky crewmembers began throwing bales of cocaine overboard. Helicopter crewmembers directed the Waesche’s interceptor boat to the scene to recover 13 bales of cocaine, totaling 500 kilograms, and five suspects. All five suspects were transferred to the Costa Rican authorities in Puerto Caldera.

Less than 24 hours prior, Waesche intercepted another vessel with cocaine on board. This case is to be prosecuted in the United States and specific details are being withheld in order to preserve the security of the operation and integrity of the ongoing investigation.

“Cutters like Waesche routinely conduct operations from South America to the Bering Sea where their unmatched combination of range, speed, and ability to operate in extreme weather provides the mission flexibility necessary to conduct alien migrant interdiction operations, fisheries protection, search and rescue, counter-narcotics and homeland security operations at great distances from shore keeping threats far from the U.S. mainland,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Colvin, Coast Guard Pacific Area deputy commander. “Counter-drug patrols in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean efficiently disrupt the transportation of cocaine when it is being carried in large loads that can exceed 10 tons. This prevents it from reaching transshipment points in Central America and Mexico where it is distributed into smaller, harder to detect packages that are then smuggled through an array of routes into the U.S. These operations also help to remove the cocaine and money that fuels the organized crime and violence that threaten regional security and stability.”

“It’s an honor returning home after our inaugural and successful counter-narcotics patrol. We prevented $25 million dollars worth of illegal narcotics from reaching U.S. shores,” said Capt. Kelly Hatfield, commanding officer of Waesche, “The ability of these ships coupled with the best crew I have ever served with exceeds my expectations on a daily basis,” said Hatfield, “With over 10 years of sea time, I have never experienced a ship that could do so much, so efficiently, and so reliably.”

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