Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless’ crew offloaded more than $160 million at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, Friday, before returning to homeport in Pensacola.
Dauntless’ crew seized approximately 8,500 pounds of cocaine and apprehended 13 suspected drug smugglers with Dominican Republic and Colombian nationalities following a 45-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea.
The Dauntless’ crew worked alongside multiple U.S. Coast Guard assets and international assets, including the HNLMS FRIESLAND of the Royal Netherlands Navy to interdict the illegal drug smuggling ventures.
“The Coast Guard’s strong international partnerships, counter threats in the maritime domain, protect each of our countries from transnational organized crime, and work to stabilize and promote good governance in the region,” said, Lt. Paul Puddington, a District Seven duty enforcement officer. “We are thankful for coordinated efforts across the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, Customs and Border Protection, as well as our international partners from the Netherlands and throughout Central and South America.”
The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation.
During at-sea interdictions, a suspect vessel is initially detected and monitored by allied, military or law enforcement personnel coordinated by Joint Interagency Task Force-South based in Key West, Florida. The law enforcement phase of operations in the Caribbean Sea is conducted under the authority of the Seventh Coast Guard District, headquartered in Miami. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Dauntless, a 210-foot Reliance-class medium endurance cutter, patrols the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean, performing counter-drug operations, migrant interdiction operations, search and rescue, and fisheries enforcement.