Crews from the cutters Steadfast and Alert interdicted the drugs from four suspected smuggling vessels between late June and mid-July. Steadfast’s made two interdictions totaling approximately 5,450 kilograms and Alert’s crew seized some 2,392 kilograms.
More than 5,000 kilograms seized by Steadfast’s crew was recovered from one panga-type fishing boat. The suspected smugglers on that boat dumped their cocaine load and managed to evade capture following a high-speed chase. however, the trail of cocaine bales recovered is one of the largest loads to be intercepted from a single small vessel in years.
In order to combat transnational organized crime, the US Coast Guard increased US and allied presence in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin, which are known drug transit zones off of Central and South America.
During at-sea interdictions in international waters, a suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored by allied military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida.
The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the 11th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Alameda, California. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the US Coast Guard.