Coast Guard Cutter Legare returns to Portsmouth after 8-week counter-narcotic patrol seizing over 7,000 pounds of drugs


Federal agents carry drug packages off the Coast Guard Cutter Legare (WMEC 912) at Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Dec. 7, 2020. The Legare crew took part in patrolling waters off the Eastern Pacific Ocean to continue the fight against drug cartels. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Charly Tautfest).

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Legare returned to homeport in Portsmouth Friday after an eight-week counter-narcotic patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The Legare intercepted over 7,000 pounds of contraband, with an estimated street value of over $20 million, according to a statement released by the Coast Guard.

The cutter also patrolled over 10,000 nautical miles throughout the Eastern Pacific, working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Navy to combat transnational smuggling organizations operating in the maritime environment.

The Legare also took onboard an aircrew from Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, homeported in Jacksonville, Fla., which specializes in airborne interdiction tactics.

Additionally, the crew sailed with a law enforcement detachment specializing in maritime law enforcement and surface use of force tactics.

While underway, the Legare participated in international naval and amphibious exercises off the coast of Manta, Ecuador.

“Similar to our previous patrol, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to challenge our methodology and tactics, despite this, the crew always rises to the challenge ensuring protective equipment and decontamination procedures are strictly followed allowing the Legare to complete and excel in all missions,” said Cmdr. Malcolm Belt, commanding officer of the Legare.

“Despite all of the restrictions COVID-19 has brought upon us, the men and women of the Legare prepared for and performed magnificently during the Unitas exercise, an opportunity for the United States to strengthen alliances with other nations and enhance our capabilities across international borders. I am continually amazed by the families and friends shore-side who support the crew serving onboard the Legare, their resolve, strength, and compassion allow the crew to focus on the mission while deployed; we would not be where we are today without their constant and unwavering support.”

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