Senator Collins Applauds Maine Coast Guard Crew Involved In Major Cocaine Busts

Washington, DC – Senator Susan Collins today applauded the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Campbell. On patrol since it left Kittery on May 18th, the crew successfully broke up two illegal drug shipments in the Caribbean Sea, seizing more than five tons of cocaine and detaining ten suspected smugglers in two separate busts. The Campbell is home-ported in Kittery at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. It returned home today for the first time since the busts. A member of Senator Collins’ staff today met the cutter to offer the Senator’s congratulations and rode with the crew into port.

“The State of Maine can be proud of the Campbell crew for their work to keep us safe,” said Senator Collins. “This bust prevented more than five tons of cocaine from being distributed in the U.S. The drugs would have sold on the street for around $350 million – which would have provided significant resources to the narcotics network, which has also been found to finance terrorism.”

In a bust on June 10th, the Cutter Campbell helped to intercept a ship that was suspected of smuggling contraband, during a nighttime chase that covered hundreds of square miles. A helicopter from the Campbell fired warning shots at the suspect boat and eventually shot out the boat’s engines to force it to stop. The suspects threw at least 4000 pounds of cocaine off the boat during the chase, which were later recovered by the Coast Guard. Five suspected smugglers were detained.

In a second bust on July 6th, lookouts on the Campbell spotted the crew of a fishing vessel throwing bales of contraband in the water, which later turned out to be cocaine. The suspect boat tried to flee the scene, but the Campbell followed it on a three-hour pursuit that ended when the Campbell crew fired warning shots for the boat to stop. The Coast Guard recovered 6700 pounds of cocaine in this bust and arrested five suspected smugglers.

In addition to the drug busts, the Campbell crew intercepted and rescued 14 Cubans who were attempting to illegally migrate to the U.S. The Campbell stopped them 20 miles south of Key West, Florida.