Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) returns home after 40-day Western Caribbean counter-drug patrol

Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) returns home after 40-day Western Caribbean counter-drug patrol. Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron. HITRON. MH-65 Dolphin. HH-65 Dolphin. MH-65 Dolphin HITRON.
Archive image: an aircrew from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) trains off the coast of Jacksonville.
This is a demonstration of warning shots fired at a non-compliant boat. HITRON hosted a production crew for the Military channel’s Modern Sniper.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Hulme.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) crew returns home to Cape Canaveral,​ Wednesday,​ following a 40-day counter-drug patrol in the Western Caribbean.

During their patrol, the Vigilant’s crew participated in a four-day multi-national counter narcotics joint operation with the Armed Forces of Honduras and later worked with the Colombian Navy in the interdictions of three suspected drug-smuggling vessels around the Colombian Basin.

The Cutter Vigilant was augmented by a Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) armed MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew capable of disabling drug-smuggling vessels.​ The aircrew​ ​ assisted in the interdiction of two suspected drug-smuggling vessels in a period of less than 24 hours, which resulted in interdiction of approximately 6,800 pounds of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of $118.3 million.

Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) returns home after 40-day Western Caribbean counter-drug patrol. Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron. HITRON. MH-65 Dolphin. HH-65 Dolphin. MH-65 Dolphin HITRON.
Archive image: an MH-65 Dolphin aircrew of Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) flies tactical maneuvers with a tactical training boat during training in the St. Johns River, Fla.
HITRON started receiving the new helicopter in September 2007. Some additional features on the new helicopter include a forward-looking infrared device and heads-up-display to enhance night operations, and an electro-optical sensor system to enhance detection capabilities.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by PAC Donnie Brzuska.

The USCGC Vigilant’s patrol efforts were in direct support of the President’s enhanced counter-narcotics surge announced in early April. The U.S. Coast Guard, working cooperatively with U.S. Southern Command, began this surge effort in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean putting increased pressure on the drug trafficking organizations operating in Central and South America.

Before returning home, the crew conducted​ the narcotics offload in Port Everglades, Florida, Tuesday. This demonstrates the successful Coast Guard, Navy and partner nations joint counter-drug operations ongoing in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

The Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) crew stands amongst 6,800 pounds of interdicted cocaine at Port Everglades, Florida, June 23, 2020. The cutter Vigilant crew seized a total of 122 bales of cocaine, June 15, 2020, in back-to-back interdictions of go-fast vessels just off the coast of Limon, Costa Rica.
U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray.

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. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Caribbean Sea is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 7th District, headquartered in Miami, Florida. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Pictured is 6,800 pounds of interdicted cocaine onboard the Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) at Port Everglades, Florida, June 23, 2020. The cutter Vigilant crew seized a total of 122 bales of cocaine, June 15, 2020, in back-to-back interdictions of go-fast vessels just off the coast of Limon, Costa Rica.
U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray.

The Cutter Vigilant is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter home ported in Cape Canaveral. The cutter crew’s primary missions include search and rescue, illegal drug interdictions, alien migrant interdictions ensuring safety of life at sea and enforcing international and domestic maritime laws.

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-USCG-

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