ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Coast Guard Cutter Resolute crew returned home to St. Petersburg Thursday morning after a 62-day Caribbean Sea patrol.
“We were doing a District 7 Caribbean patrol. Which typically involves search and rescue cases, drug interdiction and migrant interdiction. We performed all those missions. It was pretty busy,” said Ensign Rachel Lawes.
During the deployment, the crew of 78 seized almost 300 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $4 million dollars from a Venezuelan fishing vessel.
The Resolute’s boarding team seized the cocaine and detained seven suspected smugglers.
The crew also assisted with the interdiction and repatriation of 11 Dominican migrants and interdicted and cared for 146 Haitian migrants that were discovered sailing on a dangerous 40-foot vessel.
The Resolute crew safely repatriated all 146 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti.
Lawes tells 8 On Your Side one of their most rewarding operations took place in the Bahamas where the crew assisted in search-and-rescue operations following Hurricane Dorian.
“We saved 50-plus people. It was a great feeling to have that immediate and direct impact upon the people that were needing help,” said Lawes.
8 On Your Side was also there as the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute crew reunited with their loved ones.
“It’s the best feeling ever, it’s like waking up for Christmas. When you are gone for two months and you come back, especially with him being so small, he changes so much over a 2-month span of time,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Zachary Kappler.
For more information on Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, visit their website here.