Coast Guard officials have detailed Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast’s 70-day counternarcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific.
The crew crew recently returned to its homeport in Astoria, Ore., after disrupting the flow of illegal narcotics on three separate occasions during the patrol, preventing a combined total of more than 11,550 pounds of cocaine from reaching domestic soil.
“This patrol marked another epic adventure for the crew of Steadfast,” Steadfast Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brock Eckel said. “The crew’s teamwork and dedication were key to our operational success and their camaraderie made memories of a lifetime at sea and in exotic foreign ports. In keeping with the traditions of the sea services, I am also proud to have inducted 55 pollywogs into the glorious realm of Neptunus Rex’s Kingdom as Honorable Shellbacks.”
The Steadfast mission involved more than 16,000 nautical miles and included training and law enforcement missions, providing search-and-rescue coverage and conducting helicopter operations while patrolling the waters between their Astoria homeport and the international waters off the coasts of Central and South America.
On June 9, while patrolling in the Eastern Pacific, Steadfast’s cutter boat crew detected a suspected narcotics-smuggling panga-style vessel. Coast Guard personnel conducted a boarding on the vessel that resulted in the interdiction of 2,200 pounds of cocaine.
On June 18 Steadfast officials outlined personnel was notified by a Customs and Border Protection Maritime Patrol Aircraft and crew (MPA) of another suspected narcotics-smuggling vessel, with personnel launching the helicopter, that ultimately resulted in the interdiction and seizure of 6,864 pounds of cocaine from the vessel.
During routine operations on July 9, Steadfast personnel encountered a suspected narcotics-smuggling vessel transiting international waters and recovered contraband resulting in the seizure of another 2,464 pounds of cocaine.