LIVE5 Reports The Coast Guard Cutter James and crew returned to Charleston Friday after spending 52 days working to disrupt drug trafficking in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Before its return, the James crew made a stop in Port Everglades, Florida, to drop off the drugs and contriband the crew intercepted during the mission. During that process, the James offloaded nearly 32,000 pounds of cocaine and marijuana, worth an estimated $365 million.
“This patrol highlights our crew’s continued commitment to protecting the American people from our adversaries,” the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Todd Vance, said. “Despite COVID, the James crew demonstrated supreme resilience and the results of their exceptional performance are being showcased today.”
Working alongside other Coast Guard cutters and U.S. Navy partner ships, Coast Guard Cutter James crew seized or disrupted more than 11,400 pounds of cocaine and nearly 2,600 pounds of marijuana. Coast Guard Cutter James crew also successfully executed two search and rescue cases off the coast of Costa Rica, saving seven distressed mariners, within hours of each other.
The James’ crew, augmented by an embarked armed helicopter capable of disabling drug smuggling vessels from the Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, successfully intercepted four drug-smuggling vessels and that seized more than 3,500 kilograms of cocaine bound for the maritime domain.
The James crew patrol efforts were in direct support of the President’s enhanced counter-narcotics surge announced in early April. The U.S. Coast Guard, working with U.S. Southern Command, began this surge effort in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean to put increased pressure on the drug trafficking organizations operating in Central and South America.
The Coast Guard Cutter James is one of two 418-foot National Security Cutters homeported in Charleston, South Carolina.