The crew of the US Coast Guard Cutter Tampa successfully interdicted more than 970 kilograms of cocaine from a 226-foot Panamanian-flagged freighter in international waters in the Caribbean Sea Aug. 10.
The Tampa was on patrol in support of migrant and drug interdiction operations in the Windward Passage when they came across the suspect vessel in international waters.
Through a multi-day thorough search of the ship, the Tampa’s crew searched the vessel and discovered a hidden compartment aboard the Memory containing 973 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated wholesale value of more than $32.4 million.
“This is a huge win for the crew,” said Cmdr. Clinton S. Carlson, commanding officer of the cutter Tampa. “A boarding like this takes the concerted effort of all hands in one form or another, and the Tampa crew did magnificent and ultimately kept these drugs from crossing our borders.”
The crew of the Tampa turned the vessel, 11 suspects and narcotics over to the Department of Justice, Southern District of Florida for prosecution.
The Tampa is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Press Release, August 28, 2014; Image: USCG/Petty Officer Seth Johnson