Coast Guard seizes nearly 4,000 pounds of cocaine

A San Diego-based crew intercepted and seized nearly 4,000 pounds of cocaine from a drug smuggling vessel May 12 after a pursuit in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

While on a routine patrol, the 378-foot Coast Guard Cutter Chase encountered the suspected drug trafficking vessel, commonly referred to as a "go fast" vessel, 2,500 miles south of San Diego in international waters, and recovered the cocaine from the water after the five suspect crewmembers set their vessel on fire and jumped overboard.

"When I first saw smoke coming from the ship, my adrenaline took over," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik Gregg, a former high school life guard and member of the Chase's boarding team. "I wanted to get out there, get those peole out of the water, and salvage the drugs."

The Chase's crew rescued the five suspects and fought the fire aboard the go fast vessel. The vessel was eventually assimilated as stateless, and the persons onboard are being detained and are subject to U.S. laws.

The Chase has a crew of approximately 160 people, and its primary missions are maritime law enforcement and search and rescue.  Last year, the Chase's crew prevented more than $400 million of cocaine from reaching the United States.

Source: US Coast Guard

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