U.S. Coast Guard cutter crew on patrol seizes nearly $60M in cocaine before Florida homecoming

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A U.S. Coast Guard cutter interdicted and seized more than $59 million in cocaine before returning to its Pensacola, Florida, homeport, following a 56-day patrol.

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After assisting in Hurricane Laura relief efforts near Lake Charles, Louisiana, the 210-foot medium-endurance cutter passed through the Panama Canal, crossed into the Pacific Ocean and supported multiple agencies' efforts to combat the transport of illegal drugs, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

According to WEAR, the Dauntless crew seized roughly 3,500 pounds of cocaine.

“Every Dauntless shipmate put forth an astounding amount of effort to overcome challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as hurricanes Marco and Laura to ready themselves and the cutter for the counter-narcotics mission,” Cmdr. Paul S. McConnell, Dauntless' commanding officer, said in a prepared statement.

“Their preparation and effort resulted in the successful execution of multiple interdictions. I am proud of the crew’s accomplishments, and grateful for the sacrifices of my shipmates and their families back home, who have been enduring the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Sally, which made landfall near Pensacola, Florida, while Dauntless was underway,” McConnell added.

U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere on April 1 to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs, the PNJ reported.

The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations, the newspaper reported.