US Coast Guard cutter Tampa returns home after interdicting over US$94 million in drugs
The US Coast Guard medium endurance cutter Tampa returned to its homeport in Portsmouth, Virginia, earlier this week after completing a 56-day counter narcotics patrol in the Central Caribbean.
Tampa‘s crew began their patrol by embarking an armed helicopter aircrew from the Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron in Mayport, Florida, which the crew used in conjunction with their over-the-horizon capable pursuit boat to stop suspected drug-smuggling vessels.
During their patrol, a maritime patrol flight spotted a vessel on April 9, and a law enforcement team from Tampa detained three suspects and discovered 87 bales of cocaine, totaling approximately 5,500 pounds (2,494 kilograms) of cocaine, worth an estimated US$94.6 million.
Tampa‘s efforts to combat drug-smuggling in the Caribbean are part of Operation Martillo (“Hammer”), a joint interagency 20-nation collaborative counter narcotics effort.