Photos: Cutter Active Seizes $107M in Cocaine on the High Seas

Image courtesy USCG

Published May 30, 2021 4:05 PM by The Maritime Executive

The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Active returned to Port Angeles, Washington after a successful 58-day counter-smuggling patrol in the Eastern Pacific. The 55-year-old cutter and crew patrolled international waters off Central America and Mexico as part of the long-running U.S. effort to suppress cocaine smuggling. 

With the assistance of a helicopter-borne HITRON sharpshooter detachment, the Active intercepted two vessels over the course of her patrol, seizing about 5,650 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of $107 million. One of the two smuggling vessels was a low-profile vessel - a purpose-built boat designed to ride low in the water to evade detection, typically painted blue to reduce their visual profile.

Images courtesy USCG

On May 19, Active’s crew offloaded about 11,500 pounds of seized cocaine in San Diego, including drugs from her own interdictions and from two other cutters, the Steadfast and the Tahoma. The narcotics and the suspects were transferred to other federal law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

During the deployment, Active’s crew also rescued four fishermen from a stranded vessel and towed it until another Coast Guard cutter could complete the search and rescue case. In a second rescue case, Active responded to a distress call for an injured jet skier in the water. The Active’s crew provided first aid to the victim and stabilized them for further transfer.

Commissioned in 1966, Active is a 210-foot Reliance-class medium endurance cutter. Like the other 13 vessels in her class, she will one day be replaced by the future Offshore Patrol Cutter. Despite her age, Active routinely deploys on long-distance missions to counter smuggling, enforce fisheries regulations and carry out search and rescue operations.