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Coast Guard Cutter Bear to return to Portsmouth after two month patrol

February 20, 2015

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Bear is scheduled to return to Portsmouth on Sunday following a two month patrol through the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean. 

During the patrol the crew aboard the Bear seized and offloaded approximately 1,500 lbs of cocaine worth more than $20 million.

While on routine patrol the Bear’s embarked helicopter crew spotted a suspicious vessel that appeared to be engaged in smuggling activities. The helicopter crew was able to successfully coordinate the location with the Bear’s small boat crew to the vessel’s position to further investigate.  Once the small boat was on scene members of Bear’s law enforcement team attempted to determine the vessel’s nationality and later commenced a law enforcement boarding quickly discovering bales of potential contraband onboard.  There were 20 bales that were discovered testing positive for cocaine and were seized. Three suspected smugglers were taken into custody.

“These large interdictions at-sea help combat the main source of revenue for transnational criminal organizations and reduce the amount of cocaine on the streets of America,” said Cmdr. Andrew Meverden, commanding officer aboard the Bear. “Every day Coast Guard men and women show outstanding dedication by deploying aboard cutters and leaving their families for extended periods of time to carry out our vital missions.”

The Bear is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter that operates in the offshore maritime environment under the command of Coast Guard Atlantic Area headquartered in Portsmouth. Its missions include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, defense readiness, and ports, waterways, and coastal security.

This patrol was part of Operation Martillo, which is one component in the United States government’s whole-of-government approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons and cash. Operation Martillo is an international operation focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies, to counter illicit trafficking.

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