Coast Guard to offload $3 million of marijuana

Southeastern Coast Guard News
MIAMI – The Coast Guard is scheduled to offload almost 3,500 pounds of marijuana, seized during Operation Martillo, worth an estimated wholesale value of $3 million at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, Fla., Friday.

On May 10, a U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment onboard a Royal Netherlands Navy vessel, the HNLMS Friesland, assisted in recovering 3,497 pounds of marijuana during a counterdrug patrol in the Caribbean Sea. The suspected smugglers jettisoned 89 bales of marijuana into the water after being pursued by the HNLMS Friesland small boat.

The contraband was later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin who subsequently transferred it to Drug Enforcement Agency agents.

This interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, which is one component in the United States government’s whole-of-government approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, and cash. Operation Martillo is an international operation focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies to counter this illicit trafficking.

“This seizure is another excellent example of how the U.S. Coast Guard partners with our European allies to combat illicit trafficking in the Caribbean Sea in order to keep drugs from reaching American and European soil,” said Capt. Brendan McPherson, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of enforcement. “Since Operation Martillo began in January 2012, we have collectively seized more than $5 billion of cocaine and $32 million marijuana. Our success in keeping these drugs off our streets also limits the negative effects they have on regional stability in the Central American isthmus. I commend the crew of the HNLMS Friesland for their contributions to this important operation.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin is a 378-foot high-endurance cutter, homeported in Charleston, S.C.

High endurance cutters like the Gallatin are built for multi-week offshore patrols including operations requiring enhanced communications, and helicopter and pursuit boat operations, which provide a key capability for homeland security missions at sea.

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