KEY WEST, Fla. — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis offloaded more than 6,000 pounds of marijuana at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., Sept. 11, stemming from two different Caribbean Sea interdictions.
In the first interdiction, the Thetis crew located a 30-foot go-fast vessel during a routine patrol of the Caribbean Sea. Using an over the horizon smallboat, the Thetis boarding team approached and witnessed the suspected smugglers aboard the go-fast vessel jettison packages of contraband overboard. The boarding team subsequently apprehended the suspects and recovered 69 packages, which later tested positive for marijuana.
In another interdiction, a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detacment (LEDET) aboard a United Kingdom Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel, assigned to Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS) patrolling the Caribbean Sea, detected a Jamaican fishing vessel jettisoning packages overboard. The Jamaican Defense Force authorized the LEDET to board the flagged vessel and apprehend the suspects and recover 55 packages which later tested positive for marijuana.
The total contraband was approximately 6,250 pounds with a wholesale value of more than $5.5 million.
The cutter Thetis and the other medium endurance cutters are slated for replacement by an Offshore Patrol Cutter. The new OPCs will operate more than 50 miles from land, carrying out the Coast Guard's maritime security and safety activities in support of national interests. The OPC will be an economical, multi-mission ship, providing pursuit boat and helicopter capabilities and interoperability with other military and federal partners, superior to the cutters they replace. Equipped with modern sensors, the Offshore Patrol Cutter will provide the enhanced surveillance necessary to detect threats far from U.S. shores and meet the demands of the Coast Guard’s homeland security, search and rescue, law enforcement and other vital missions.