EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) seized 725 kilograms of suspected cocaine and 3,190 pounds of suspected marijuana, August 4.
While on routine patrol, a USCG C-130 Hercules Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) located a go fast vessel (GFV) suspected of carrying illegal contraband. Nitze was vectored in for a long-range intercept and deployed “Jaguar 606,” one of its embarked MH-60R Seahawks assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 60 (HSM 60).
Warning shots were fired from the helicopter after the GVF failed to stop when directed. Nitze and the embarked LEDET deployed in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) to board the vessel and conduct the search. Three suspected drug smugglers were detained.
Nitze and the embarked LEDET recovered a total of 725 kilograms of suspected cocaine worth over an estimated wholesale value of $27 million and 3,190 pounds of suspected marijuana worth an estimated wholesale value of $5.6 million.
USS Nitze is deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to support enhanced counter drug operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives.
Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.
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