Two San Diego-based Coast Guard cutters regularly work off the western coast of South America to play a part in the long-running war against drugs.
TAKING FIGHT ON DRUGS TO THE SEA
Written by Jeanette Steele
The San Diego Union-Tribune
2 San Diego-based Coast Guard cutters regularly trawl the waters off the coast of South America
It was night on the Eastern Pacific, about 230 miles off the coast of Ecuador.
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter, far from its San Diego home, lurked out of sight of a suspicious fishing trawler.
Quietly, the crew members of the cutter Boutwell put two small boats into the water. They sneaked over the horizon toward the trawler, video cameras on. Close. Closer.
Pay dirt. Square packages were visible on the deck of the trawler. And those packages didn’t contain fish.
The late November raid netted 2,200 pounds of uncut cocaine bound by water for Mexico. From there, it would have traveled over land to the streets of Southern California.
Far from the U.S. border, a week’s sail from Point Loma, two San Diego-based Coast Guard cutters regularly work off the western coast of South America to play a part in the long-running war against drugs.
The 165-person Boutwell returned in mid-December from a 60-day deployment near the equator. It’s a job that the Coast Guard, despite a fleet of mostly aging long-distance cutters, continues to fill while the post-9/11 wars have drawn U.S. military resources elsewhere.
The two large San Diego cutters, Boutwell and Sherman, each deploy to the region twice or three times a year for……….[access full article]
Image courtesy of the United States Coast Guard