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Press Release | Feb. 24, 2024

US Coast Guard Cutter Reliance interdicts $57 million in illicit drugs during Eastern Pacific Ocean deployment

PENSACOLA, Fla. — The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Reliance (WMEC 615) returned to their homeport Saturday following a 57-day counterdrug patrol. 

Patrolling in support of Joint Interagency Task Force-South, the Reliance crew stopped two drug trafficking ventures, detaining six suspected traffickers and preventing nearly 4,000 pounds of cocaine, and 5,400 pounds of marijuana, worth more than $57 million, from entering the United States. The drugs were seized in the international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. 

During the patrol, Reliance conducted an at-sea case transfer with the Ecuadorian Navy, strengthening the partnership between the United States and Ecuador in the regional effort to combat transnational organized crime. 

In addition, the cutter made port calls in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama for the first time in the ship’s 59-year history. The cutter also crossed into the Southern Hemisphere, prompting a time-honored equatorial crossing tradition for the Reliance crew. Before returning to Pensacola, the crew conducted aviation training with aircraft from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile and steamed in formation with Coast Guard Cutter Diligence (WMEC 616) to commemorate the cutters’ upcoming 60th anniversaries this summer. 

“I am incredibly proud of the tenacity, persistence, and talent of this Reliance crew,” said Cmdr. Brian Chapman, Reliance’s commanding officer. “The crew trained hard for this mission and proved their readiness. Their thirst for operational success was inspiring and resulted in the significant removal of tons of illicit narcotics that harm communities throughout the Americas. After nearly 60 years of service, Reliance continues to conduct missions of strategic importance successfully.” 

Reliance is a 210-foot, medium endurance cutter homeported in Pensacola with a crew of 71. The cutter’s primary missions are counterdrug operations, migrant interdiction, enforcement of federal fishery laws, and search and rescue in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.  

For information on how to join the U.S. Coast Guard, visit to learn more about active duty and reserve, officer and enlisted opportunities. Information on how to apply to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy can be found here