Coast Guard Seizes 9,300 Pounds of Cocaine During Recent Patrol

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A suspected cocaine smuggling vessel drifts in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean after being intercepted by the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Thetis, November 21, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
A suspected cocaine smuggling vessel drifts in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean after being intercepted by the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Thetis, November 21, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A U.S. Coast Guard crew returned home to Key West on Thursday after seizing about 9,300 pounds of cocaine and preventing more than one ton of additional drugs from reaching the United States.

Suspected smugglers dumped those additional drugs, said the Coast Guard, which stopped four vessels to make the seizures and apprehended 13 people during a 79-day patrol throughout the eastern Pacific Ocean

The crew of the Cutter Thetis worked in support of the U.S. Southern Command Joint Interagency Task Force South and the Coast Guard 11th District.

The drugs seized are valued at $165 million. Two of the boats stopped were described as "low profile" vessels -- boats that sit lower in the water, are painted to blend in with the sea and are harder for radar to detect. Often they are used by drug cartels, particularly in the eastern Pacific.

"These interdictions were an all hands effort working with Joint Interagency Task Force South, interagency partners and partner nations in the region," said Commander Randall Chong, commanding officer of the Thetis. "I could not be prouder of my crew for stepping up and successfully completing our mission."

The Coast Guard crew did some community relations work during its patrol.

During a port call in Mexico, Thetis crew members volunteered to build a playground at a school located in the mountains of the Oaxaca province.

Named for the Greek mythology sea nymph and mother of Achilles, the Thetis is a 270-foot Famous class cutter, homeported in Key West. It has a crew of 100.

This article is written by Gwen Filosa from Florida Keys Keynoter and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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