Coast Guard crew makes $8.8M drug bust while training

Sailors return home safely to Naval Station Mayport

US Coast Guard Cutter Valiant docked at Mayport. (U.S. Coast Guard)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Over 520 pounds of cocaine was seized after a United States Coast crew intercepted a 16-foot go-fast style boat in the Caribbean Sea.

The crew completed their 26-day patrol Tuesday and returned home to Naval Station Mayport.

USCGC Valiant patrolled over 4,600 nautical miles with Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they conducted counter-narcotics operations. Valiant received information on a potential threat in the Mona Pass and shifted gears from training to law enforcement.

Three suspected narcotics traffickers were arrested, and over $8.8 million of cocaine was seized. The USS Wichita helped take in an additional nine suspected narcotics traffickers and another 132 pounds of cocaine. The suspects were transported to the United States for prosecution.

“This was an extremely challenging patrol for team Valiant and I could not be more proud of the entire crew to overcome every obstacle and ultimately have several operational successes,” said Valiant’s Commanding Officer Jeff Payne.

Valiant’s patrol began with a training cycle, but first, it had to overcome mechanical issues, as well as challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We overcame each challenge, teamed with our Department of Defense counterparts, and ultimately executed textbook missions protecting our shores and nation,” said Cmdr. Jeff Payne.

The Valiant is a 210-foot Medium-Endurance Cutter that conducts missions such as national defense operations, marine environmental protection and search-and-rescue.