Here is an excerpt from Nick Valencia's article on CNN.com:
"A U.S. Coast Guard cutter was fired upon by suspected drug traffickers during a pursuit off the coast of Nicaragua, a Coast Guard spokesman told CNN. A U.S. Coast Guard cutter was fired upon by suspected drug traffickers during a pursuit off the coast of Nicaragua, a Coast Guard spokesman told CNN. The incident took place in the early morning of September 14, but information about the attack was not released until CNN inquired Friday about the incident... No shots hit the Coast Guard boat and there was no damage, O'Neil added. The shooting happened after a boarding team from the Cutter Escanaba (pictured) pursued a go-fast vessel suspected of smuggling drugs in international waters. The suspects managed to escape after entering Nicaraguan waters, said O'Neil. The Coast Guard is still reviewing the event, he said." Link to Full Article
Analysis: Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that drug smugglers are firing upon US Coast Guard personnel and vessels? I don't know how far away the two groups were from each other, but it's a good thing the shooter missed. I don't want to find out how a headline about a dead Coastie who was a victim of narco gunfire would play in the media, or with the general public.
Mind you, this isn't the first time that smugglers have fired on a US law enforcement agency. There have been numerous reports of gunshots exchanged between people on the Mexican side of the border and Border Patrol agents and police on the US side. This shouldn't be any different than those incidents, but somehow it feels more threatening. What would the national response have been if a Coastie had been shot, or worse, killed? In January 2008, a USBP agent was killed after being hit by a truck driven by smugglers. In July 2009, another agent was killed by several gunshots to the head by an unidentified group of border crossers near a San Diego border fence. I don't remember there being a national outcry or major changes in policy after either of these incidents.
I guess I'm just curious what sort of incident it's going to take before people take notice of how brazen and aggressive smugglers have become, and the impact their activities are having on US homeland security personnel. I'm also curious if the Coast Guard was ever going to publicize this incident and use it as an example of the threats we're facing from drug smugglers. Maybe this happened all the time in the Caribbean when the Coasties were interdicting Colombian smugglers in go-fasts, and I'm making a big deal out of something that is (or was) relatively commonplace. After all, cops and Coasties and the military expect to be fired upon by the bad guys now and again. Still, my gut tells me that DTOs are moving away from the usual behavior of scuttle the vessel, dump the load, and just run as fast as you can to something considerably more dangerous. I hope I'm wrong.