Portsmouth-based Coast Guard cutter interdicts $16M in illicit drugs in Caribbean

Coast Guard

Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane conduct sunset flight operations with an MH-65 Dolphin aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami in the Caribbean Sea. Harriet Lane’s crew returned from a 72-day patrol performing counter-drug and migrant interdiction operations in support of the Coast Guard 7th District and Joint Interagency Task Force-South and in conjunction with a diverse array of US and foreign military assets to conduct vital training and perform its assigned law enforcement mission. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane interdicted about $16 million in illicit drugs during a 72-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea.

The 270-foot cutter returned home to Portsmouth on Sunday after the patrol, which performed counter-drug and migrant interdiction operations in support of the Coast Guard 7th District and Joint Interagency Task Force-South, the Coast Guard said in a release Tuesday.

Harriet Lane worked with various U.S. and foreign military assets for the operations.

One operation interdicted a go-fast vessel that had about 882 pounds of suspected cocaine — worth about $16 million on the street.

The interdiction was done jointly with the USS Wichita (LCS 13). The Coast Guard used the Wichita’s helicopter to “employ airborne use of force” and disabled the vessel. They then boarded the boat.

“Harriet Lane crews also conducted multiple at sea transfers of suspected illegal narcotics and drug-smugglers with the Dutch Navy aboard HNLMS Holland and facilitated the at-sea interdiction of a suspected drug smuggling vessel by the French frigate Ventôse,” the Coast Guard said.

In addition, the Harriet Lane crew also did a towing exercise with the 378-foot Wichita. During that time, both vessels exchanged crew members of various rates and rank to “provide exposure and promote professional development.”

The crew was also involved in other international events.

“The crew of Harriet Lane hosted Consul General Allen Greenberg, the U.S. Consul General for Curacao and U.S. Chief of Mission for the former Dutch Antilles. Amidst, operations, joint military training, and acts of diplomacy, the cutter crew also completed aviation, damage control, seamanship, and navigation training to maintain operational readiness and prepare for future multi-mission patrols,” the Coast Guard said.

“I am tremendously humbled to have completed my first patrol aboard Harriet Lane with this fine crew of maritime professionals,” said Cmdr. Ben Goff, commanding officer of the Harriet Lane “Throughout, we showcased a diversity of talent unique to the world’s best Coast Guard. I am extremely proud of the crew for their unwavering flexibility and selfless service amidst a variety of scheduling changes and mission challenges. Likewise, it was a true privilege to conduct operations and training with our US, Dutch, and French navy partners.”

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