U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Intercepts 882 Pounds of Cocaine Worth $16 Million

The Harriet Lane, a Portsmouth, Virginia, based U.S. Coast Guard cutter, returned to shore on Sunday after seizing 882 pounds of suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of $16 million.

The 270-foot medium endurance cutter was working on a 72-day-patrol in the Caribbean Sea in order to perform counter-drug and migration operations, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The crew was also working alongside other U.S. and foreign military assets including the Coast Guard 7th District, USS Wichita and Joint Interagency Task Force South.

Along the way, the crew intercepted a vessel that was carrying hundreds of pounds of the illegal narcotic.

The drug interception was conducted via helicopter by the Harriet Lane crew alongside members of the USS Wichita. According to the Coast Guard, "The helicopter disabled the vessel and vectored in Harriet Lane's small boat with an embarked boarding team."

"Harriet Lane crews also conducted multiple at sea transfers of suspected illegal narcotics and drug-smugglers with the Dutch Navy aboard HNLMS Holland and facilitated the at-sea interdiction of a suspected drug smuggling vessel by the French frigate Ventôse," the statement added.

The Harriet Lane crew also helped lead a tow alongside the USS Wichita, taking the 378-foot littoral combat ship along with it.

"During the evolution both vessels exchanged crew members of various rates and rank to provide exposure and promote professional development. This exercise provided invaluable training for both crews and strengthened the special relationships amongst the seagoing services," according to the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Harriet Lane
During a recent patrol by the Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane, the crew seized 882 pounds of Cocaine worth $16 million. Crew members from the Harriet Lane conduct a towing evolution with crews from the USS Wichita [LCS 13] in the Caribbean Sea. Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann/U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Ben Goff, commanding officer of the Harriet Lane, said he was "tremendously humbled" to have completed such a successful first patrol aboard the Harriet Lane.

"Throughout, we showcased a diversity of talent unique to the world's best Coast Guard. I am extremely proud of the crew for their unwavering flexibility and selfless service amidst a variety of scheduling changes and mission challenges. Likewise, it was a true privilege to conduct operations and training with our U.S., Dutch, and French navy partners," Goff added.

Harriet Lane is also responsible for a variety of other Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue, enforcement of laws and treaties, maritime defense, and protection of the marine environment.

Efforts by the Coast Guard to capture illegal drugs have long been successful. Last June, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard similarly seized $40 million worth of cocaine, weighing about 4,400 pounds.

A month earlier, a Coast Guard cutter intercepted a vessel holding 3,100 pounds of cocaine. And in Fiscal Year 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard seized more $6.6 billion of illegal drugs.