The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) crew seized a total of 122 bales of cocaine, June 22, in back-to-back interdictions of go-fast vessels just off the coast of Limon, Costa Rica.
The forward-deployed Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew aboard the Vigilant successfully disabled the first go-fast vessel and observed the crew throwing packages overboard.
Once on scene, the boarding team discovered four people aboard and recovered 77 bales or approximately over 1,900 kilograms of cocaine from the water. Immediately following the first interdiction, the helicopter crew and a separate cutter boarding team were vectored to a 34-foot go-fast vessel with five people aboard.
The helicopter crew successfully disabled the second go-fast vessel and also observed the crew throwing packages overboard. The Vigilant boarding team arrived on scene, apprehended five people and recovered 45 bales or approximately 1,179 kilograms of cocaine from the water.
The cocaine recovered during both interdictions has an estimated wholesale value of approximately $118.3 million.
“Every high-speed interdiction of drug-laden vessels presents unique challenges, so for us to simultaneously interdict two overpowered go-fast vessels in the middle of the night is extraordinary,” said U.S. Coast Guard Commander Fred Bertsch, commanding officer of the Vigilant. “I am very proud of our crew and could not have asked anything more from them. These efforts, combined with those of our partner agencies and nations, will help ensure stability in the Western Hemisphere.”
On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives. Numerous U.S. agencies from the departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime.
The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.