Wednesday, October 5, 2022

There’s $146 million worth of cocaine right now in Virginia Beach

Crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable stand with narcotics interdicted during a two-month patrol. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Coast Guard)
Crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable stand with narcotics interdicted during a two-month patrol. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Coast Guard)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Dependable returned to their homeport here Thursday afternoon after a successful two-month patrol in support of Joint Interagency Task Force-South.

The Dependable’s crew patrolled the Eastern Pacific Ocean and interdicted two suspected smuggling vessels, seizing more than five-and-a-half tons of cocaine valued at approximately $146 million, the Coast Guard said.

The cocaine was seized during a Department of Homeland Security Joint Task Force-East-led coordination among various DHS agencies and the Department of Justice.

It showcases the threat posed by dangerous cartels, gangs and criminal groups that make up extensive transnational criminal organizations, and highlights the commitment of JTF-E, the Coast Guard and its inter-agency partners’ efforts to detect, interdict, investigate and prosecute operatives for these criminal networks, according to a news release.

A crew from Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, based in Jacksonville, Florida, embarked aboard the Dependable and provided the cutter with “airborne use-of-force capabilities.”

The Dependable is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter with a crew of over 75. The crew conducts homeland security missions in the offshore waters of the Western Hemisphere from New England to the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific, according to the Coast Guard.

Nearing its 50th year of service, Cutter Dependable and the other 26 aging medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by new offshore patrol cutters in 2021.

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