U.S. Coast Guard and partners search ferries for illegal activity, drugs

Petty Officer 1st Class Devon Waite and canine Bingo conduct a vehicle sweep aboard the ferry vessel Tustumena in Kodiak. (Photo by Lauren Dean / U.S. Coast Guard)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The U.S. Coast Guard partnered with law enforcement agencies across the state to conduct a large-scale search for illegal activity on ferries in Washington State and Alaska. Between June 24 and July 02, according to a Coast Guard press release, they investigated ferries in Bellingham, WA, Kodiak, and Ketchikan.

Coast Guard members from across the state and the West Coast worked together with local police and Alaska State Troopers to inspect over 1,500 passengers, 400 crew members, and 500 vehicles during that time. Their search included the use of drug sniffing dogs.

Lt. Cmdr. Bernie Auth helped coordinate the operation. He said joint operations like this one help strengthen relationships between law enforcement agencies and encourage the sharing of resources and abilities.

He adds that a major goal is to deter and detect the transportation of illegal items via the sea.

“Just with the Coast Guard being a maritime service, we know that’s one of the ways that illegal activity can be make it up to the state and throughout the state, so we want to do everything we can do eliminate that.”

According to the press release, the operation included the seizure of 56 grams of heroin, an ounce of methamphetamines, and almost two pounds of non-commercial marijuana.

Auth said this is the second operation the Coast Guard and their partners have completed together, and the last one was in March.

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