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Coast Guard cutter’s crew makes massive 4,600-pound cocaine bust, 2nd in 5 days

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett recently seized more than 4,600 pounds of cocaine, their second cocaine bust in five days.

The drugs were confiscated July 31 from a “low-profile go-fast” vessel in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the Coast Guard announced Thursday.

The bust came just days after the July 25 seizure of more than 2,100 pounds of cocaine from a different boat, which was the pre-commissioned cutter’s first seizure since leaving its Mississippi shipyard in June, the branch noted.

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The cabin of a “low-profile go-fast” vessel interdicted by crew members from the pre-commissioned Coast Guard Cutter Midgett on July 31 in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Coast Guard)

The total of more than 6,700 pounds of cocaine seized in the two operations was worth more than $89 million, the Coast Guard said.

“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,” said Capt. Alan McCabe, the cutter’s commanding officer. “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.”

Crew members from the pre-commissioned Coast Guard Cutter Midgett sitting atop the "go-fast" vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard)

Crew members from the pre-commissioned Coast Guard Cutter Midgett sitting atop the “go-fast” vessel. (U.S. Coast Guard)

According to the Coast Guard, one metric ton of cocaine contains 20 million individual doses in the U.S. Over the last five years, the Coast Guard has seized more than 923 tons — 2 million pounds — of cocaine, or about 18.4 billion doses worth more than $27 billion.

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“Nearly 80 [percent] of all known illegal narcotics coming into North America are smuggled by international cartels through the Eastern Pacific corridor, an area greater in size than the entire United States,” the Coast Guard said. “The profits from cocaine allow drug cartels to diversify and fund other illicit trafficking activities including the smuggling of opioids, synthetics, methamphetamines, persons and weapons.”

The bust took place in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Coast Guard)

The bust took place in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Coast Guard)

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“Low-profile go-fast vessels are purpose-built by cartels for smuggling large quantities of contraband by riding low in the water to avoid detection,” the Coast Guard explained. “By design, they can be quickly sunk through the use of integrated scuttling valves, a dangerous practice that jeopardizes the safety of the suspected smugglers and the Coast Guard boarding teams.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter homeported in Seattle, transiting the Strait of Juan de Fuca en route to Seattle.

The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a 378-foot high-endurance cutter homeported in Seattle, transiting the Strait of Juan de Fuca en route to Seattle.
(Petty Officer 1st Class Levi Read/U.S. Coast Guard, File)

The Midgett is the Coast Guard’s eighth national security cutter. The vessel has been en route to its future homeport in Honolulu, the branch said. It’s set to be commissioned with its sister ship, the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball, on Aug. 24.

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