US

Coast Guard’s Security Cutter Seizes Over 4,600 Pounds of Cocaine, Second Cocaine Bust in 5 Days

By Paula Liu

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midgett just confiscated over 4,600 pounds of cocaine during its return to Honolulu on July 31, according to multiple reports. This seizure would be the second one within five days.

The United States Coast Guard news release stated that it boarded a vessel in international waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean it had intercepted that was suspected of carrying drugs and found over 4,600 pounds of cocaine. In addition to the 2,100-pound cocaine seizure back on July 25, the Cutter Midgett has now seized over 6,700 pounds of the illegal drug.

Star-Advertiser reported that the Cutter Midgett made these drug busts before the boat was officially commissioned for duty.

The United States Coast Guard estimated that the total amount of seized cocaine would be worth around $89 million, according to the news release. For reference, after the cocaine enters the United States, 2,204.6 pounds (one metric ton) of cocaine would become 20 million individual doses.

The Coast Guard successfully removed over 2 million pounds (923 metric tons) of the drug, which corresponds to an uncut wholesale value of over $27 billion during the last five years.

In the news release, low-profile go-fast vessels are methods of transportation used by cartels who use them to smuggle various illegal items in large quantities. It is designed in a way that the vessel travel in the ocean low enough to lower the risk of being detected, essentially rendering the vessel almost undetectable. And if it does become detected, the vessel could be easily sunk by employing the integrated scuttling valves built inside the vessel. However, according to the Coast Guard news release, this practice of sinking via the scuttling valves is dangerous, and it could put both the suspected smuggler and the Coast Guard teams at risk.

According to the news release, almost 80% of the drugs that are smuggled to the United States are by cartels overseas, traveling through the eastern pacific corridor. This money that the cartels get from selling the drugs provides them with the necessary means to fund various other illegal trafficking activities, such as smuggling of opioids, synthetics, methamphetamines, people, and weapons.

With the use of Coast Guard’s use of their patrolling vessels to track down and confiscate illegal goods, over two million pounds of cocaine—which have an estimated value of $27 billion—have been seized over the past give years, according to the news release.

“The national security cutter gets you further, faster and delivers more capability once on the scene than any other cutter in the history of our service. I am incredibly proud of the crew’s efforts who made these two seizures possible, and we are eager to conduct future operations throughout the Pacific,” said Captain Alan McCabe, the Midgett cutter’s commanding officer, the news release stated.

Once it makes its way back to Honolulu, Hawaii, the cutter Midgett, the eighth national security cutter commissioned by the United States Coast Guard, and will be attending a ceremony on Aug. 24, along with its sister ship, the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball, presided over by the Admiral Karl Schultz, the commandant of the Coast Guard, according to the news release.

The vessel is named in honor of John Allen Midgett, according to the cutter’s Facebook page. Midgett was awarded the Silver Cup by the UK Board of Trade back in 1918, for rescuing 42 British sailors who were on board the British tanker Mirlo, a vessel that was torpedoed by a German U-Boat, according to a Facebook post. Midgett was also awarded a Gold Lifesaving Medal by the U.S. Coast Guard back in 1924.

The cutter was sponsored by the Jazainia O’Neal, Midgett’s granddaughter.

“We often speak of our service as a family, our Coast Guard family. The Midgett name takes that seriously with a family legacy unprecedented in the armed services, a family that is all about service before self. Such a special name deserves to be emblazoned on a unique platform,” said Admiral Charles Michel, the vice commander of the U.S. Coast Guard.

“Midgett is the eighth ship we have built in this class,” said Brian Cuccias, the Ingalls Shipbuilding President. “And with her, we’ve proven once again that American workers, Ingalls shipbuilders, can take on some of the most challenging manufacturing projects in the world.”