(PRESS RELEASE) The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane returned to its home port today from a 94-day patrol in drug trafficking zones of the Eastern Pacific after seizing approximately 17,203 pounds of cocaine from suspected smugglers.
The drugs were seized from nine suspected drug smuggling vessels. The contraband is valued at more than $260 million.
Harriet Lane’s crew worked in conjunction with detachments from the Coast Guard’s Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team (PACTACLET) from San Diego, and the Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) from Jacksonville, Florida, and other cutters on patrol in the region. During the course of one week, the crew successfully interdicted three panga-style fishing vessels by engaging in high-speed pursuits with the ship’s Over the Horizon interceptor boat and embarked HITRON helicopter.
“The success of this deployment directly reflects the long hours of training, preparation, and teamwork of our crew and partner agencies that support this dynamic mission,” said Greg Tozzi, commanding officer of Harriet Lane. “The Coast Guard conducts counternarcotics operations as part of our ongoing effort to disrupt transnational organized crime and reduce the violence directly related to drug trafficking.”
Harriet Lane’s cocaine haul on this patrol marks the largest amount of illegal drugs seized by a single Coast Guard cutter on single patrol in the fiscal year 2018. Several of the cocaine shipments seized by Harriet Lane on the latest patrol were among 18 tons of contraband offloaded in San Diego from the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf on March 20, 2018.
Overall coordination of counter-smuggling patrols in the Eastern Pacific ocean is conducted by Joint Interagency Task Force – South, based in Key West, Florida and is aimed at disrupting and dismantling illicit threat networks in the region. The law enforcement phase of interdiction operations in the region occur under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, California.