The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Active, a 210-foot medium endurance Reliance-class cutter homeported in Port Angeles, interdicts more than 1 ton of cocaine from four suspected drug smugglers during a counter-narcotics patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean on May 18. (U.S. Coast Guard)

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Active, a 210-foot medium endurance Reliance-class cutter homeported in Port Angeles, interdicts more than 1 ton of cocaine from four suspected drug smugglers during a counter-narcotics patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean on May 18. (U.S. Coast Guard)

Drugs seized by Coast Guard cutter Active of Port Angeles worth $78 million

The drugs were seized off the coast of Central America.

SAN DIEGO — The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Active from Port Angeles seized more than 5,271 pounds of cocaine worth more than $78 million during a counter-drug patrol in international waters off Central America.

The crew of the 53-year-old Coast Guard cutter seized the drugs during two back-to-back interdictions off the coast of Central America on May 18 and May 19, the Coast Guard reported in a press release.

The drugs were expected to be offloaded in San Diego on Tuesday. They will be turned over to federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration for destruction.

The crew also apprehended six suspected drug smugglers during the interdictions who will be prosecuted in the United States, the Coast Guard said.

“I’m incredibly proud of this crew and their accomplishments. The success of this patrol is a testament to their hard work and dedication. Just to keep a 53-year-old ship in prime condition is a feat in and of itself, and they have done that and much more,” said Active’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Chris German.

During its patrol, Active has interdicted three “panga” style vessels and one pleasure craft, resulting in the seizure of more than three tons of illicit narcotics worth an estimated $95 million in wholesale, and apprehended 11 suspected drug smugglers, the Coast Guard said.

“The crew of Active should be proud of all they’ve accomplished to combat dangerous transnational criminal organizations that spread violence and instability throughout the Western Hemisphere,” said Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area.

“Their ability to complete the mission on this aging platform is a testament to their abilities as cuttermen and devotion to duty as Coast Guard women and men.”

The Active is a Medium endurance cutter (MEC) and currently operating beyond its expected 40-year service life.

The MEC class is considered the backbone of the Coast Guard’s fleet; however, engineering challenges have plagued the operations of these vessels in recent years, the Coast Guard said.

Medium endurance cutters are scheduled for replacement by the offshore patrol cutter (OPC), with construction of the first vessel beginning in 2018 and scheduled for completion in 2021.

“These cutters [OPCs] will eventually comprise 70 percent of Coast Guard surface presence in the offshore zone,” said U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft before the House Committee on Appropriations, Homeland Security Subcommittee in May 2017.

“Offshore patrol cutters will provide the tools to more effectively enforce federal laws, secure our maritime borders by interdicting threats before they arrive on our shores, disrupt TCOs, and respond to 21st century threats.”

MEC crews stopped nearly a third of all drugs seized by the U.S. Coast Guard in Fiscal Year 2017, more than 138,000 pounds, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard removed more than 493,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $6.6 billion in 2017, which was a new record for the service, up from 443,000 pounds of cocaine in Fiscal Year 2016.

_______

This story was first published in the Peninsula Daily News.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

AG Ferguson wants to require law enforcement statewide to report all uses of deadly force

Report to Legislature recommends centralized, easily accessible statewide website on incidents

Stay local with summer travel plans | State Department of Health

Officials want people to limit cross-state travel to help slow spread of COVID-19

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

A new measure from the King County Council could increase flexibility for businesses in rural areas of King County. File photo
County measure would increase flexibility for businesses in rural areas

Staff report Legislation the King County Council passed June 23 could lead… Continue reading

Changes coming to Port of Seattle Police Department

Hiring practices, commitment to diversity, use of force

File photo/pexels.com
Renton man pleads guilty to one of state’s largest workers’ comp scams

The delivery driver was still working under his own name while receiving L&I pension, and owes the state almost $340,000.

King County Board of Health declares racism a crisis

Racism was declared a public health crisis by King County’s Board of… Continue reading

Most Read