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Press Release | May 3, 2024

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Active returns home from Eastern Pacific patrol; one life saved, $50.8M worth of cocaine interdicted

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Active (WMEC 618) and crew returned home to Port Angeles Friday after completing a 54-day multi-mission patrol in support of a Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) counternarcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

During the patrol, Active’s crew interdicted 3,858 pounds of cocaine worth an estimated $50.8 million in a coordinated effort involving both airborne and surface units, resulting in a safe and successful interdiction.

In addition to the cocaine interdiction, Active’s crew disrupted two other smuggling events while serving as the sole U.S. surface asset operating in the region for 28 days in support of Joint Interagency Task Force-South’s counter-narcotics campaign. Throughout the deployment, the cutter patrolled over 12,000 nautical miles, a distance roughly equivalent to five spans of the continental U.S.

“Any interdiction at sea is challenging, with a variety of factors at every step, and no two are ever the same,” said Cmdr. Adam Disque, Active’s commanding officer. “The cases we encountered on this patrol were particularly difficult, and the crew fought through obstacles at every turn, working extremely hard to accomplish this mission. I could not be more proud of the team as they fully embodied our cutter’s nickname, ‘The Li’l Tough Guy’.”

On April 12, Active received notification of a single-handed sailor in distress more than 300 nautical miles northeast of the Galapagos Islands. The sailor's boat was disabled, and he was adrift at sea after reporting a pod of whales damaged his sailboat.

Active diverted over 200 nautical miles at high speed to conduct a search and rescue operation. Upon arrival, the crew safely embarked the mariner and brought him back to shore.

“This sailor was very fortunate that we happened to be in the area; he was far from normal shipping lanes and well out of range for any coastal rescue system,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Gordon Smith, an Active crewmember who participated in the search planning. “It was fortunate that we were able to find him relatively quickly and get him on board before the weather or situation deteriorated.”

Active’s two pursuit boats were supplemented by an MH-65E helicopter and aircrew from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) to respond in a multi-mission environment on the high seas. HITRON, based in Jacksonville, Florida, conducts airborne use of force to stop vessels suspected of breaking U.S. and international laws on the high seas.

During this patrol, specialized law enforcement members from the Coast Guard’s Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team and the Maritime Security and Response Team – West deployed aboard to support their mission and augment Active’s crew.

Active regularly patrols international waters off southern Mexico and Central America to combat transnational organized crime in the Western Hemisphere, specifically the smuggling of narcotics.

Active, a 57-year-old medium endurance cutter, is homeported in Port Angeles. The multi-mission cutter falls under the operational command of the Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander. Patrolling from the northernmost part of the contiguous United States to the equator, Active is critical in conducting search and rescue, counter-narcotics law enforcement, living marine resource protection, and homeland defense operations.