ASTORIA, Ore. – A Coast Guard crew from Astoria seized nearly $200 million worth of cocaine during a 50-day counterdrug patrol in the Eastern Pacific at the end of last year.
The crew on the Steadfast, a 49-year-old, 210-foot medium-endurance cutter, patrolled international waters off the coasts of Mexico and Central America. During their mission, they intercepted five vessels suspected of engaging in illegal drug smuggling. In total, they seized 12,000 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated street value of $180 million, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
“Knowing we stopped tons of drugs from reaching America’s shores and the streets of our allied nations in Central and South America made this deployment over the holidays even more rewarding.” said Cmdr. Alain Balmaceda, Steadfast’s commanding officer.
In addition to the drug busting, the Steadfast rescued three fisherman who were stranded 300 miles off the coast of Mexico due to an engine failure with their boat.
The Steadfast returned to its port in Astoria on Christmas Eve.