The last few days have been busy over at Coast Guard Sector Key West as two cutters off-loaded more than $50 million worth of cocaine and marijuana -- the culmination of weeks of interdictions in the Caribbean Sea.
The last two months have been heady days, in particular for the crew of the Key West-based Cutter Mohawk, who arrived Saturday with more than 1,000 kilos of cocaine and more than 600 pounds of marijuana from five interdictions, said Mohawk commanding officer Capt. Mark Fedor.
The interdictions included the simultaneous intercept of two go-fast boats that were traveling in opposite directions that required the Mohawk crew, a helicopter crew and a small boat to all work closely together to make the stop successful, Fedor said, adding that the Costa Rican Navy was also a player in that mission.
"We caught two go-fast boats in one day; that was a first for me," Fedor said, with a small chuckle. "What a great case. Everyone did an outstanding job."
The Mohawk nabbed 13 suspected drug smugglers on their cruise that started in January. The crew pulled into Sector Key West Saturday weary, but satisfied, their captain said.
"This is one of the busiest patrols I can ever remember being on," Fedor said. "Every day it seemed we were chasing someone and that kept us really busy. That takes a toll after a while when you can't stand down due to all the work, so the crew came in tired, but there was a lot of satisfaction, too." The Mohawk was hunting go-fast boats and smugglers off the coast of Nicaragua, Honduras and other areas in the western Caribbean Sea, Fedor said.
The Mohawk will now rest at port and undergo minor maintenance while the crew prepares for a summer mission.
In August, the 270-foot cutter is scheduled for major renovations in Baltimore, but for now the crew is enjoying a brief rest, Fedor said.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the crew of the 270-foot Cutter Legare, homeported in Portsmouth, Va., off-loaded 39 bales of cocaine worth about $24 million in Key West.
The Legare was also patrolling in the western Caribbean and stopped a go-fast vessel last month with four suspected smugglers, according to a Coast Guard press release.