On 17 September 2017, a low-profile vessel was spotted travelling loaded with cocaine in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, with a Captain and two more crewmen onboard. Meanwhile, another boat captain and a crew member were traveling in a go-fast vessel intending to rendezvous with the other crew onboard the low-profile vessel.

After organized operations by the USCG Cutter James, the vessels were intercepted and approximately 1,205 pounds of cocaine were recovered.

Three defendants admitted to conspiring to distribute the cocaine. Of those three defendants, one was sentenced to 84 months in custody; one was sentenced to 96 months in custody; and one was sentenced to 84 months in custody.

The Court found that the captain of the go-fast vessel created a potentially dangerous situation by fleeing from law enforcement. The other two defendants admitted to possession with intent to distribute the cocaine while onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the US. Of those defendants, one was sentenced to 180 months in custody and the other to 210 months in custody.

The Coast Guard’s mission of interdicting drug smugglers in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is extraordinarily challenging, but it is essential to protect our nation from the international flow of illegal drugs and the transnational organized criminals that thrive from the drug trade,

...said on the occasion Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, Commander of the 11th Coast Guard District.

This case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership that brings together the combined expertise of US law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.

On 16 July, the USCG Cutter Steadfast offloaded approximately 7,800 kilograms of cocaine, worth nearly $260-million, seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off Central and South America from four suspected smuggling vessels between late June and mid-July.