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PORTSMOUTH - The crew of the Portsmouth-based Coast Guard Cutter Bear made a big drug bust in the Caribbean Sea.

They offloaded more than 1,851 pounds of cocaine, which officials say has a wholesale value of more than $22 million, at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, Fla. on November 23.

U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment onboard the HNLMS Van Amstel of the Royal Netherlands Navy helped in recovering the 42 bales of cocaine as part of Operation Martia, which is an operation aimed at stopping drugs from Central America.

The 270-foot medium endurance cutter Bear is on counter drug patrol in the region.

Bear patrols about six months of the year and was in its second month on this tour when they made the seizure.

'Due to operational needs, the Cutter Bear will not be returning to homeport for some time. However, the crew will return in the next few weeks,' Petty Officer 3rd class David Weydert told WVEC.com.

Taking their place will be the crew of a cutter currently in dry dock in New Hampshire. The ship swap happens pretty often, Weydert explained, so that the Coast Guard can continuously maintain mission readiness in all sectors.

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