7th District Southeast Public Affairs
August 03, 2012
Contact: 7th Coast Guard District
Office: (305) 415-6683
MULTIMEDIA RELEASE: $52 million of drugs offloaded in Tampa by Coast Guard
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The seized contraband came from two separate interdictions in the western Caribbean Sea.
A joint effort between the crews aboard the Coast Guard Cutters Forward and Venturous resulted in the seizure of more than 35 pounds of cocaine off a 40-foot go-fast vessel and a 25-foot go-fast vessel July 22. The crews took 12 suspects into custody and seized approximately $430,000 worth of contraband.
The Tampa's crew boarded a 25-foot go-fast vessel and detained five suspected smugglers Monday. The vessel was carrying more than 4,200 pounds of cocaine and marijuana. The result of the seizure was approximately $52 million worth of contraband.
“Seizures at sea are the most efficient and cost-effective way to keep contraband off the streets of America,” said Cmdr. Timothy Cronin, 7th Coast Guard District assistant chief of enforcement. "The crews of the Venturous, Forward, and Tampa performed admirably during these interdictions. As part of Operation Martillo, they demonstrated the importance of working with our partner nations and agencies to prevent illicit narcotics from crossing national borders."
The interdictions were part of Operation Martillo. The operation is a joint, interagency, international operation designed to deny transnational criminal organizations air, land and maritime use of Central American transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash.
During the same patrol, Tampa's crewmembers rescued three people aboard the 41-foot recreational boat, Poseidon IV, disabled and adrift for two days in the Caribbean Sea, July 28, 2012.
Crewmembers aboard the Poseideon IV contacted watchstanders at the 7th Coast Guard District reporting they were in distress.
Tampa's crew was notified and diverted to the Poseidon IV to render assistance.
Due to an alternator casualty causing a small fire, the Poseidon IV was unable to energize navigational lights making them difficult to locate. Crewmembers aboard the Tampa requested the vessel issue continuous distress calls in order to locate them by radio.
At approximately 4 a.m., a lookout crewmember spotted the Poseidon IV.
“Over the horizon I saw a dim light,” said Seaman Jonathan Folger, a lookout crewmember aboard the Tampa. “I hoped it was the vessel in distress, so we could assist them.”
Tampa’s crewmembers boarded the vessel to conduct a safety inspection and attempted repairs. The nature of the casualty made repairs at sea impossible. The cutter's crew took the Poseidon IV and crew in tow and later transferred them to the Honduran Navy, who towed them into port.
Medium endurance cutters like the Tampa, Venturous and Forward are slated for replacement by new Offshore Patrol Cutters. The new OPCs will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard's maritime security and safety activities in support of national interests. The OPC will be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners, superior to the cutters they replace. Equipped with modern sensors, the OPCs will provide the enhanced surveillance necessary to detect threats far from U.S. shores and meet the demands of the Coast Guard’s homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement and other vital missions.
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