MHC is Coast Guard Community Part 3
Stating our case as a Coast Guard Community:
Part 3 of 3
Carteret County has been notified that the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant will be coming for a visit and formally declare that Carteret County is “A Coast Guard Community.” This is a compilation of information contained in the application packet that was presented to Coast Guard headquarters.
One of the most ardent supporters of the county’s application to become “A Coast Guard Community” has been Chamber member Judge Doug McCullough, who serves on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
He wrote and published “Sea of Greed” in 2008. His book is a true story of the investigation and prosecution of Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega and the largest drug ring in U.S. history.
The author says it all began under the cover of darkness on the night of July 7, 1982, when the two-member crew on a Coast Guard patrol boat out of Fort Macon boarded a suspicious shrimp trawler in Beaufort Inlet, setting in motion a chain of events that ended with the U.S. invasion of Panama, the overthrow of Noriega and the biggest drug bust in America.
|Left: Coast Guard patrol boats are|
a familiar sight on the waters of the
Crystal Coast. (Photo by Wes Daniels)
|Right: Judge Doug McCullough.|
At the time, Judge McCullough was serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He unraveled a notorious Cayman Island drug cartel and brought the drug lord to justice.
In his book, Judge McCullough writes that the Bobby M appeared to be an ordinary, wooden shrimper – about 70 feet long – but the dialogue between the Coasties on the scene reveals otherwise:
“How many shrimpers do you know carry hunting rifles and night goggles around with them? I’m not sure what they’re up to, but I can tell you that when I was getting ready to search their hold, somebody below was cocking a shotgun getting ready to give me a personal welcome.”
Later, as it was safe to search the vessel, Coast Guard investigators found that the entire hold was full of bales of marijuana. “Oh my God, how much grass are we looking at here? Must be 50 or more bales!”
“No…I’d say the whole…boat is full. We have struck the motherload.”
Judge McCullough wrote: In short order “the entire port area was crawling with agents from several government agencies, all eager for a part of the largest drug seizure in the region. Even as investigators poured over the surrounding docks and warehouses, the Bobby M was seized by the Coast Guard and moved back to Fort Macon station.”
Judge McCullough, who is a retired Marine Corps Reserve Colonel and currently resides in Atlantic Beach, says: “I totally supported selecting Carteret County as ‘A Coast Guard Community.’”
“My admiration and respect for the men and women who serve in the Coast Guard is boundless. The courage and valor that was demonstrated by those two Coasties who came upon the Bobby M on July 7, 1982, is the norm – not an aberration.
“The crews based here at Fort Macon and in Emerald Isle are true professionals and are firmly dedicated to serving and protecting our nation. They are heroes and great Americans.
“I am sure that all citizens of our great county will join me as we stand and salute them for their contributions for freedom and justice for all,” Judge McCullough concludes.