U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tampa recovers 2.6 tons of cocaine at sea
By Dialogo December 10, 2012
PORT CANAVERAL, U.S.A. – Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa on Dec. 6 offloaded more than 5,000 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated US$55 million, in Port Canaveral, Fla.
The Tampa recovered more than 75 bales of cocaine from the water after the suspected narco-traffickers jettisoned the contraband in an attempt to flee law enforcement.
Coast Guard Cutter Tampa received an alert from a Canadian Maritime Patrol Aircraft operating in the area. Once in range, the cutter Tampa launched its embarked helicopter crew from the Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, based in Jacksonville, Fla., to pursue and stop the vessel. The vessel alluded law enforcement, but cutter Tampa crewmembers located and recovered the contraband.
“The entire operation ran like clockwork,” said Cmdr. Susan Polizzotto, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa. “The cutter and helicopter crews did exceptionally well on this important mission, and we recognize the vital support of international partners that enables us to keep dangerous drugs off our streets.”
This interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, a joint effort of Western Hemisphere and European nations to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus.
The cutter Tampa is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter ported in Portsmouth, Va.
[U.S. Coast Guard (United States), 06/12/2012; Citrus Daily (United States), 05/12/2012; Florida Today (United States), 05/12/2012; Radio Caracol (Colombia), 05/12/2012]