Coast Guard Cutter Bear Concludes Drug-Busting Deployment
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Bear returned home April 12 following a three-month deployment to the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the Coast Guard’s 5th District said in an April 12 release.
After transiting from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean through the Panama Canal, the Bear’s crew performed counter-narcotic operations, search and rescue, and maritime law enforcement with the aid of an embarked Helicopter Interdiction Tactics Squadron (HITRON) aviation detachment (AVDET). The HITRON AVDET’s aid included a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.
The crew conducted 10 at-sea boardings and interdicted five vessels attempting to smuggle narcotics. Bear’s crew ultimately seized approximately 15,000 pounds of cocaine in less than three months, worth an estimated wholesale value of over $200 million.
Bear’s crew also performed a search and rescue mission while deployed, providing life-saving assistance to two fishermen stranded at sea off the coast of Guatemala.
“I could not be more proud of the crew, who with the support of our agency and international partners devoted countless hours towards the success of this patrol,” said Cmdr. Gregory A. Shouse, Bear’s commanding officer. “The hard work put forth by all directly aided in the dismantling of transnational organized crime networks and the eventual prosecution of those attempting to operate illegally in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.”
Bear is a 270-foot medium-endurance cutter that conducts search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and illegal drug interdiction missions in support of Coast Guard operations.