ALAMEDA, Calif. – The crew of the San Diego-based U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell interdicted a “go-fast” vessel in international waters off the coast of Central America December 30, 2013, apprehending three suspected drug smugglers and seizing approximately 1,375 pounds of cocaine.
The Boutwell’s crew was patrolling in the region when a maritime patrol aircraft reported a suspicious vessel approximately 140 miles away heading north towards Central America. Boutwell’s crew immediately steamed towards the go-fast and as they approached the vessel deployed law enforcement pursuit teams in interceptor boats.
Upon sighting the Coast Guard, the suspects began jettisoning bales and conducting erratic maneuvers to evade the pursuit teams. After a brief high-speed chase, the go-fast ended its attempts to evade and Boutwell’s boarding teams took control of the vessel and suspects. Coast Guard crews searched the area and recovered 14 bales of contraband.
The U.S. Coast Guard deploys assets to both the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, in coordination with other law enforcement agencies and partner nations in the regions, to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific occurs under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, Calif.
Commissioned in 1968, the 378-foot Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell is one of eight remaining Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters in service. Her crew is currently deployed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, conducting counter-drug and search and rescue missions.