U.S., Costa Rican Coast Guards Seize Vessel, Cocaine

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast, homeported in Astoria, Ore., seized a Costa Rican fishing vessel and retrieved more than 80 bales of cocaine from the Eastern Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, with the cooperation of Costa Rican officials aboard the cutter.

While on patrol, Steadfast’s deployed HH-65 Dolphin helicopter reported a suspicious vessel, an 85-foot boat, reportedly with multiple bags and bales of cocaine aboard. After sighting the Coast Guard helicopter, the vessel quickly began heading away from the Steadfast.

The HH-65 helicopter initiated pursuit of the fishing vessel as the crew allegedly began to throw the contraband overboard, maneuvering erratically at full speed, attempting to elude the Coast Guard. The vessel eventually complied with an order to stop. Costa Rican officials aboard the Steadfast requested the Coast Guard to board the vessel.

After the Steadfast arrived on scene at night, a boarding team and a Costa Rican official went on board the fishing vessel, safely gained control and detained the crew. They also began searching the waters using night vision goggles for the contraband that was thrown overboard earlier. After a thorough search of the vessel by the boarding team and detailed questioning by the Costa Rican official, seven crew members were transferred onto the Steadfast.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard remained at the scene, and during daylight, retrieved 81 bales and 49 bricks of cocaine with a combined weight of 4,558 pounds and an import value of about $61 million.

The seized cocaine and crew members of the fishing vessel were scheduled to arrive in Costa Rica on Sunday for eventual prosecution.

This was Steadfast’s first narcotics seizure of its current deployment.

The Steadfast is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter with a crew of 69 and has been on patrol for two weeks.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.