PORT ANGELES — The 75-member crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Active returned to homeport in Port Angeles this month after seizing more than 3,500 pounds of cocaine during a two-month deployment off the coast of Central and South America.
Throughout the patrol the cutter’s crew seized and disrupted delivery of more than $47 million worth of cocaine, the Coast Guard said.
“We were very successful on this patrol,” said Cmdr. Benjamin Berg, commanding officer of the Active, in a news release. “We continue to sharpen our response capabilities and hone our craft to effectively thwart the trafficking of illegal narcotics.”
During the deployment, the crew of the 210-foot-long vessel worked with numerous other Coast Guard, U.S. government and international agencies under the leadership of the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) to combat and disrupt drug smuggling and transnational organized criminal networks in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The Active’s crew patrolled more than 11,000 nautical miles, conducting numerous at-sea boardings of suspect vessels.
They also completed the extensive training and maintenance required to keep the 52-year-old vessel in peak operational status.
“It’s often grueling and exhausting work, at all hours of the day and night, and in the heat of equatorial summer, but the crew truly understands that our operations here, thousands of miles from the U.S. border, does save lives, both at home and abroad, when we prevent this contraband and the violence that it brings with it, from reaching our shores,” Berg said.
While on a port call in Costa Rica, the Active’s crew partnered with local officials to renovate a local day care center, helped clean play equipment, removed trash and performed various maintenance and landscaping projects to help the local community.
JIATF-S, a National Task Force under U.S. Southern Command, oversees the detection and monitoring of Transnational Organized Crime operations on the high seas, and assists U.S. and multi-national law enforcement agencies with the interdiction of these illicit traffickers.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].