Coast Guard Sweep Brings Approximately $38.5 Million of Cocaine to Port of LA
PORT OF LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter “Ward” brought in a hefty illegal drug haul on its first counter-smuggling patrol in the eastern Pacific. Multiple drug interceptions were discovered and retrieved in international waters, to the tune of over $38.5 million.
Ward (WPC-11300), a Fast Response Cutter, commissioned in March, kept crew members busy with interesting discoveries. Floating bales of cocaine were discovered drifting out at sea on August 22nd.
On July 16th, an interception of a suspecting smuggling vessel produced nearly 3.000 lbs. of cocaine.
August 29th, the Coast Guard District 11 commander, Rear Admiral Peter Gautier welcomed home Ward and crew to homeport after a 50 days of successful counter-narcotic patrol. Ward has the reknown of being the first Fast Response Cutter (FRC) to interdict narcotics in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The sweep included port calls as far south as Panama, while patrolling over 10,000 nautical miles.
“This was a fantastic patrol,” said Lt. Benjamin Davne, Robert Ward’s commanding officer. “We helped stem the flow of illegal drugs by seizing and disrupting more than three tons of cocaine. We saved lives by keeping these drugs off the streets. Our crew is in friendly competition with other fast response cutter crews stationed in other parts of the nation and on our first patrol we are already credited with the second largest cocaine seizure and disruption rate for any Coast Guard ship in our class.”
Increased Coast Guard presence in known drug transit zones in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin is part of the Western Hemisphere Strategy. U.S. and allied unity of efforts include all phases of operation, including detention, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions, nationwide by U.S. Attorneys.
“The Cutter Robert Ward and three other newly-commissioned cutters based in San Pedro are strengthening the Coast Guard’s safety, security and counter-smuggling efforts along our coast and in the shipping zones off Central and South America,” said Rear Adm. Peter W. Gautier, the 11th Coast Guard District commander. “I’m proud of the Ward’s crew and applaud their actions to disrupt the cartels that profit from crime, addiction and ruin American lives.”