USCG’s brand new national security cutter seizes 970 kilos of cocaine

While on its maiden voyage, the US Coast Guard’s new national security cutter USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) encountered and interdicted a suspected narcotic trafficking vessel south of the Dominican Republic last week.

At the time of the interdiction, the newbuild was in transit to conduct joint operations off the coast of Guyana as part of Operation Southern Cross.

The crew on the USCGC Stone prepare to launch one of the ship’s small boats in the Caribbean Sea on Jan. 6, 2021.

Having stopped the illicit activity, Stone handed off the case to the USCGC Raymond Evans (WPC 1110), a fast response cutter from Key West, Florida, and continued its patrol south. 

On early Thursday, acting on information from a maritime patrol aircraft, the Stone crew approached the vessel of interest and exercised USCG authorities to stop its transit and interdict illicit maritime trade. 

The USCGC Raymond Evans arrived on the scene shortly after. A USCG boarding team from the Raymond Evans conducted a law enforcement boarding, testing packages found aboard the vessel, revealing bales of cocaine estimated at 2,148.5 lbs (970 kgs) total.

Stone’s crew remained on scene during the search of the vessel to assist if need. Following the boarding, the Raymond Evans crew took possession of the contraband and detained the four suspected narcotics trafficking vessel members.

Being the coast guard’s ninth national security cutter, Stone was handed over to the USCG by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division in November 2020. It departed the shipyard on 22 December.

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NSCs are 418 feet long with a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120.

Photo: USCG