PORT ANGELES — The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Active and crew returned to Port Angeles after the crew seized 130 kilograms of cocaine, aided in a search of a missing sailor and rescued three sea turtles during a 58-day counternarcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The cutter and crew arrived Thursday.
Sailing over 12,000 nautical miles from Port Angeles, Active patrolled in support of a Joint Interagency Task Force South counternarcotics mission.
Active’s crew of 70 Coast Guard men and women located and interdicted a drug-laden “go-fast” vessel using the cutter’s embarked small boats. In addition to seizing 130 kg of cocaine, four suspects were interdicted.
The crew also played a role in a search and rescue case of a missing U.S. sailor last seen departing Mexico.
In a joint effort with the Mexican Navy, Active’s crew located and investigated the sailing vessel Defiant, found overturned over 200 miles from nearest land. The crew searched over 1,500 square miles of the Pacific, but they were unable to locate the sailor.
Donald Lawson, 41, of Baltimore was training for a solo sailing trip around the world when he left Acapulco on July 5. His capsized boat, the Defiant, was found in the Pacific on July 24, according to The New York Times.
Active’s crew successfully rescued three endangered loggerhead sea turtles that had become tangled in abandoned fishing gear.
Active removed the derelict gear and properly disposed of it to prevent further harm to wildlife.
“I am very proud of the cutter and the crew’s performance, said Cmdr. Adam Disque, commanding officer of the Active.
“We were able to interdict illegal narcotics, assist in an international search and rescue case, and participate in a professional exchange with our partners in the Mexican Navy,” Disque said.
“The crew demonstrated professionalism and resiliency as we worked through a variety of logistical and engineering issues to keep Active mission-ready. It was a great patrol and now we are looking forward to returning to cooler latitudes and spending some time with our families and friends.”
Commissioned in 1966, the Active, nicknamed, “The Li’l Tough Guy,” is one of three medium-endurance cutters homeported on the West Coast and is the oldest of all the Pacific Area major cutters.