Coast Guard Cutter Berholf Returns After Major Cocaine Busts at Sea

The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf has returned home to Alameda, California, after 50 days patrolling the Eastern Pacific Ocean on a counter-narcotics mission, returning with some 6,200 pounds of confiscated cocaine valued at over $107 million.

Commanding officer Capt. Brian Anderson said that early in the patrol, the 418-foot Bertholf interdicted three go-fast vessels over a span of six hours using three pursuit boats, their helicopter and a Scan Eagle drone to apprehend four suspected drug smugglers and seize over 1,700 pounds of cocaine.

The Bertholf mobilized its advanced capabilities, including a small, unmanned aircraft system, an attached Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron MH-65 helicopter and air crew, and an embarked Law Enforcement Detachment from the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team.

The Coast Guard said that its fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires a collaborative effort of detection, monitoring and interdictions, with criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ offices in districts nationwide.

The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific is conducted under the authority of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda. The interdictions themselves, including actual boardings, are conducted by the Coast Guard.