PORTSMOUTH - Dozens of families had an extra reason to celebrate this July 4 because their loved ones are back home.

The US Coast Guard Cutter Northland returned to Portsmouth on Thursday in time to spend Independence Day with their friends and loved ones.

They were gone on a two-month patrol in counter-drug, alien migrant interdiction operations and search and rescue.

'Homecoming is so much sweeter to be back on the Fourth of July,' said Cmdr. Holly Harrison, Northland's commanding officer.

Off the coast of Haiti, Northland stopped the flow of illegal drugs and immigrants.

Deployment highlights included rescuing and helping the stranded Haitian merchant vessels, working with Alameda, Calif.,-based National Security Cutter Bertholf to transport more than 1,250 pounds of cocaine that had been brought to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It's value is at least $19 million, Coast Guard officials said.

Northland has a crew of 85 enlisted personnel and 13 officers.

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