$69 million worth of cocaine seized by Virginia-based Coast Guard cutter

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The crew aboard local Coast Guard cutter USCGC Harriet Lane recently seized about 5,000 pounds of cocaine from a suspected smuggling vessel.

The drugs were valued up to $69 million, the Coast Guard said in a release.

The 270-foot cutter homeported in Portsmouth intercepted the vessel just before midnight on October 23, when it was tipped to the semi-submersible vessel’s location in international waters.

Boarding teams deployed from the cutter on interceptor boats and were able to take control of the vessel before the four suspected smugglers onboard were able to sink it.

The Coast Guard didn’t say exactly where the vessel was found, but said it was in known drug smuggling zones of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Central and South America.

“I am really proud of our crew and the precision and professionalism with which they conducted this interdiction,” said Cmdr. Dorothy Hernaez, Commanding Officer of the Harriet Lane. “It was an all hands on deck effort to properly position the cutter and to safely make the seizure. This interdiction was made possible by great team work, including excellent air support provided by Joint Interagency Task Force South and assistance from Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf’s crew in off-loading the bulk contraband from the vessel.”

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