The United States Coast Guard says it has been “hard at work” disrupting a “rising threat” as drug smugglers use “increasingly sophisticated and evolving methods” to evade authorities in the Caribbean Sea.
“First, there was the US$180 million cocaine seizure by Coast Guard Cutter Seneca. Then there was Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk and their 24-hour pursuit followed by a double bust resulting in a total cocaine seizure of seven tons,” the Coast Guard said in a statement, adding that “while these cases involved different crews and different circumstances, they all had one thing in common “ drug subs”.
The Coast Guard said the typical self-propelled, semi-submersible “commonly referred to as a drug sub” can travel up to 5,000 miles, bringing illicit cargo, whether narcotics, goods or people, to the shores of the United States. “With every drug sub interdiction, we have shared with Compass readers the stories of the men and women who made the missions a success,” the statement said.
“But, in each of these stories, one vital asset is mentioned far too briefly “ air support,” it added, stating that aircrews are a “fundamental part of the drug interdiction mission. “Perhaps no crew better exemplifies just how key air support is than the crew of the Aviation Training Center Mobile airplane involved in the latest drug sub interdiction,” the Coast Guard said.
It said this aircrew was responsible for the first interdiction of a self-propelled, semi-submersible by an HC-144 in the Western Caribbean Sea, on the first day downrange on their first deployment with Joint Interagency Task Force South based here. The US Coast Guard said its aircraft have surface search radar, a day/night camera and a mission system pallet that connects to the rest of the Coast Guard in tracking drug smugglers in the Caribbean Sea.