MAYPORT -- While most of the focus on the return of the USS Gettysburg from a six-month deployment was the reuniting of families, the ship's crew confiscated a record amount of cocaine while patrolling off the coasts of Central and South America.
The Gettysburg, working with the FBI, Coast Guard and other governments, confiscated 61,000 pounds of cocaine, worth almost $2 billion. The previous record for a Navy ship was 42,000 pounds from seven vessels, officials said.
Capt. Phil Davidson, the ship's commanding officer, commended his crew's "gumshoe work" in tracking and arresting drug runners.
Coast Guard crew on board the Gettysburg along with sailors and aviators from the Mayport-based Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 46 detained 42 people from the seven vessels.
In 2005, Navy ships and helicopters and Coast Guard detachments working under the Joint Interagency Task Force, seized 545,000 pounds of cocaine at sea and arrested 700 traffickers, said Lt. Jon Spiers, spokesman for the Mayport-based naval component of Southern Command.