Man Sentenced to Prison in Major Drug Seizure

By Karen Robes Meeks

A man involved in a historic Coast Guard drug seizure off Oregon waters was sentenced to prison Thursday, the agency reported.

John Philip Stirling, a 66-year-old Canadian citizen, received a 40 month-sentence in federal prison and five years of supervised release “for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act.”

This result stemmed from a routine patrol on April 9, 2019, when the Coast Guard Cutter Alert spotted a sailing vessel and tried to communicate with Stirling, who only responded by VHF radio.

Coast Guard crewmembers decided to board the vessel and discovered that Stirling needed medical assistance for a possible drug overdose. Investigators later searched his vessel to find 28 jugs containing more than seven gallons of liquid methamphetamine each and a duffel bag fill with several plastic-wrapped bricks of pentobarbital that were bound for Canada, according to the agency.

“The volume and value makes this the largest known maritime seizure by the Coast Guard off the Oregon coast, and we applaud the men and women of the Coast Guard Cutter Alert for their diligence in making the apprehension,” said Lt. Cmdr. Scott McGrew of the Coast Guard 13th District in Seattle, Wash.

By Sarah Spangler