US Coast Guard, Panamanian authorities stop drug smuggling operation
The US Coast Guard and Panamanian authorities have stopped a drug smuggling operation in international waters northeast of Panama, the service said in a statement on Friday, April 24.
On April 13, a coast guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, forward deployed with the Famous-class medium endurance cutter Escanaba, spotted a suspect fishing vessel with five people aboard. Escanaba then sent a small boat crew to the scene.
Escanaba‘s small boat crew recovered 40 bales of cocaine while a nearby Panamanian law enforcement boat crew recovered another 43 bales, taking a total approximately US$60 million wholesale that would have otherwise funded transnational criminal organisations.
The 40 bales recovered by the coast guard crew were then transferred to the Sentinel-class fast response cutter Raymond Evans.