Virginia-based Coast Guard cutter seizes $69 million worth of cocaine

A Coast Guard cutter homeported in Virginia seized $69 million worth of cocaine. (Source: U.S....
A Coast Guard cutter homeported in Virginia seized $69 million worth of cocaine. (Source: U.S. Coast Guard photo/Patrick Kelley via DVIDS)(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 20, 2019 at 12:43 PM EST
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A Coast Guard cutter crew homeported in Portsmouth seized $69 million worth of Cocaine on Oct. 23.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane intercepted a suspected semi-submersible smuggling vessel in the Pacific Ocean and took about 5,000 pounds of cocaine, according to a Coast Guard press release sent this week.

The crew was alerted to the suspected vessel by a maritime patrol aircraft on patrol in the region.

“Boarding teams from the cutter deployed in interceptor boats and stopped the suspected smuggling vessel just before midnight. The boarding teams took control of the vessel before the four suspected smugglers aboard could sink the craft using installed scuttling valves,” the release said.

The cocaine removed was valued at about $69 million.

“I am really proud of our crew and the precision and professionalism with which they conducted this interdiction,” said Cmdr. Dorothy Hernaez, Commanding Officer of the Harriet Lane. “It was an all hands on deck effort to properly position the cutter and to safely make the seizure. This interdiction was made possible by great team work, including excellent air support provided by Joint Interagency Task Force South and assistance from Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf’s crew in off-loading the bulk contraband from the vessel.”