Coast Guard Cutter James returns after 75-day counter-drug patrol

Coast Guard Cutter James returns after 75-day counter-drug patrol
A low-profile go-fast vessel is shown next to the Coast Guard Cutter James in mid-May, 2020 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. The James' crew intercepted 3,100 pounds of cocaine and four suspected smugglers aboard the boat. (U.S. Coast Guard photo.) (Source: U.S. Coast Guard)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter James returned home to Charleston Friday after spending 75 days at sea in a counter-drug patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

During their patrol, the James’ crew, assisted 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 seized more than 3,800 kilograms of cocaine and 3,300 pounds of marijuana bound for the United States.

The James' patrol efforts supported President Donald Trump's enhanced counter-narcotics surge announced in early April. The U.S. Coast Guard began the effort in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean. Their goal is to put increased pressure on the drug trafficking organizations operating in Central and South America.

Working alongside U.S. Navy crews aboard destroyers and littoral combat ships, the James crew, along with several other Coast Guard cutters crews seized or disrupted more than 43,000 kilograms of cocaine and nearly 10,000 pounds of marijuana.

A Coast Guard Cutter James boarding team working alongside a fishing vessel in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of central America mid-May 2020. During their patrol, James crew successfully intercepted four drug-smuggling vessels and seized more than 3,800 kilograms of cocaine and 3,300 pounds of marijuana bound for the United States. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)
A Coast Guard Cutter James boarding team working alongside a fishing vessel in the Eastern Pacific off the coast of central America mid-May 2020. During their patrol, James crew successfully intercepted four drug-smuggling vessels and seized more than 3,800 kilograms of cocaine and 3,300 pounds of marijuana bound for the United States. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo) (Source: U.S. Coast Guard)

Before returning home, the crew conducted a narcotics offload Tuesday in Port Everglades, Florida. The crew offloaded nearly 30,000 lbs. of cocaine and marijuana, worth an estimated $400 million dollars.

“This patrol highlights our crew’s sincere commitment to protecting the American people from our adversaries amid all the uncertainty caused by COVID-19,” Cutter James Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Randall said. “The James’ crew demonstrated supreme resilience and performed exceptionally as showcased by the results of this successful patrol.”

The Coast Guard Cutter James is one of two 418-foot National Security Cutters homeported in Charleston.

The Coast Guard says its robust command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment makes the NSC is the most technologically advanced ship in the Coast Guard’s fleet. They are equipped with three state-of-the-art small boats and a stern boat launch system, dual aviation facilities, and serve as an afloat command and control platform for complex law enforcement and national security missions involving the Coast Guard and numerous partner agencies.

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