The Coast Guard cutter Alert returned to Astoria on Friday after a two-month patrol during which it seized more than 5,700 pounds of cocaine and caught seven suspected drug traffickers, according to the agency.
The cocaine seizure, estimated at more than $83 million in street value, came from two separate suspected drug-smuggling boats the Alert’s crew intercepted. The Alert received support from the Navy, Customs and Border Protection and Coast Guard air crews that provided reconnaissance.
“This disrupts key funding sources for these dangerous criminal networks and diminishes their influence in the Western Hemisphere,” Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the Coast Guard, said in a news release.
A tactical squadron aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter deployed on the Alert to help pursue and intercept boats.
The Alert’s deployment began in early December, lasting through the holidays and the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
“We are fortunate to have such a high-spirited crew, happily celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve together, at sea for 32 days between liberty stops,” Cmdr. Tobias Reid, Alert’s commanding officer, said in the news release. “Between the holidays, two very interesting smuggling cases and our equator-crossing ceremony, we had a very full and satisfying patrol.
“But, above all, we are thankful for the incredible generosity from the Astoria, Warrenton, Hammond and Seaside communities who provide such tremendous support to our families while we were on patrol.”