US Coast Guard returns to Charleston, SC after intercepting drugs valued at $57.1M

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The United States Coast Guard Cutter Stone returned to its homeport in Charleston Friday after intercepting drugs valued at more than $57 million, WPDE reported.

The crew was on a 61-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean, with partners from Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador and NOAA.

Officials said Stone’s crews successfully intercepted two suspected drug smuggling vessels, recovering approximately 2,246 pounds of cocaine and 4,870 pounds of marijuana. The drugs had an estimated combined street value of $57.1 million.

The crew also transferred 20 alleged narcotics smugglers to the Coast Guard’s Seventh District and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration authorities.

“This is our crew’s first patrol outside of their initial shakedown cruise, and I am extremely proud of the dedication and pride they have shown toward getting qualified to conduct the missions expected of a national security cutter crew,” Stone’s commanding officer, Capt. Clinton Carlson said. “Throughout these past months, everyone aboard displayed enthusiasm during the drills we’ve run every week and have proven that through teamwork and a shared understanding of the mission, we can accomplish even the most difficult tasks. I am honored to lead this impressive crew of Coast Guard women and men.”

The Stone carried observers from Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for joint operations to tackle illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF) and conduct counter-drug operations off the coast of South America.

(WATCH BELOW: Border patrol: Agents seize drugs valued at nearly $3 million in 2 unrelated busts)