Coast Guard Cutter Forward crew offloads $27.7 million of cocaine

Southeastern Coast Guard News
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Forward offloaded more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine with an estimated wholesale value of $27.7 million today at U.S. Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

A Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment embarked with the U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Rentz (FFG-46), assigned to Joint Interagency Task Force South, seized the cocaine Aug. 16, 2013 from a fishing vessel about 260 nautical miles north of the Galapagos Islands while the Rentz was conducting Counter Transnational Organized Crime Operations in the 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Martillo.

The contraband was transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Forward Sunday for todays’ offload.

A crewmember stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward places a bag of seized cocaine along with the rest Friday, September 20, 2013, at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. The drugs were seized by a a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment stationed aboard the U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Rentz (FFG-46) approximately 300 miles north of the Galapagos Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto

A crewmember stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward places a bag of seized cocaine along with the rest Friday, September 20, 2013, U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto

Crewmembers aboard the Rentz worked closely with a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion long-range patrol aircraft operating in the region to initially detect and intercept the fishing vessel suspected of smuggling narcotics.

The Coast Guard LEDET discovered and confiscated the large cache of cocaine shortly after boarding the suspect vessel. The suspects and evidence needed for prosecution were later turned over to Costa Rican authorities.

U.S. Coast Guard LEDETs are an armed deployable specialized force created to extend the Coast Guard’s law enforcement authority for narcotics interdiction operations aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships. Capable of supporting Department of Defense national defense operations, LEDETs also provide specialized law enforcement capability and maritime security capabilities across a full spectrum of maritime response situations, maritime security augmentation and anti-piracy operations.

Operation Martillo, Spanish for “hammer,” is a partner-nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. — Crewmembers stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward offload approximately 2,000 pounds of cocaine Friday, September 20, 2013, at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. A Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment stationed aboard the U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Rentz (FFG-46) seized the cocaine from a fishing vessel approximately 300 miles north of the Galapagos Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. — Crewmembers stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward offload approximately 2,000 pounds of cocaine Friday, September 20, 2013, at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto

Joint Interagency Task Force South, a component of U.S. Southern Command, conducts interagency and international detections and monitoring operations and facilitates the interdiction of illicit trafficking and other narco-terrorist threats in support of national and partner nation security. JIATF South works closely with Coast Guard and other partner agencies to combat illegal drug trafficking operations

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet employ maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in order to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships that foster regional security in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific where these drugs were seized is done by JIATF South headquartered in Key West, Fla. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occurs under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, Calif.

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