While out on a routine patrol on July 29, the USS Nitze (DDG 94) with the embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) vectored in for a long-range intercept of of a go-fast vessel (GFV) with a payload of illegal narcotics.
The Nitze deployed one of their helicopters from the “Jaguars” assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 60 (HSM 60) which observed seamen on the vessel tossing packages over the side. The helicopter continued to provide overwatch, ensuring compliance while embarked LEDET on the Nitze and small boats arrived to get positive control of the GFV. During the search of the vessel, four suspected drug traffickers were found and detained.
Through the cooperative efforts of the Nitze and the embarked LEDET, they recovered a total of 82 kilograms of suspected cocaine worth over an estimated wholesale value of $3.1M. They also recovered 2,961 pounds of suspected marijuana worth an estimated wholesale value of $5.2M.
“This was a team effort. The support we received from our partners was imperative to this operation,” said Cmdr. Don Curran, USS Nitze Commanding Officer.
The Nitze is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer deployed to the U.S. Southern Command responsible for supporting enhanced counter-drug operations in both the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific.
U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere on April 1, disrupting the flow of drugs in support of President Trump’s National Security Objectives.
There are a multitude of U.S. agencies including the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security that cooperate in efforts 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.