Operation Martillo Recovers $26 Million Worth of Cocaine
U.S. guided-missile frigate USS Carr (FFG 52) recovered approximately 324 kilograms of cocaine on October 11, with an estimated street value of $26 million while supporting Operation Martillo and U.S. 4th Fleet.
While conducting Counter Transnational Organized Crime (C-TOC) patrols on October 10, USS Carr coordinated with a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft to find and intercept a small vessel, referred to as a “go-fast”, that was suspected of smuggling narcotics in international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. During the pursuit, the go-fast jettisoned suspicious cargo over the side and eventually escaped. Carr then commenced a search to find the jettisoned materials. On the morning of October 11, Carr located the suspicious items and launched a small boat to recover them.
Once the retrieved cargo was aboard Carr, an embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment discovered a suspicious substance. Further testing revealed that it was cocaine.
“It was a great job by everyone involved to stay focused and get the mission accomplished over the 18 hours that elapsed from initial detection until finally discovering the cocaine,” stated Carr’s Commanding Officer, Commander Patrick Kulakowski.
Carr is homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, and is currently deployed in support of Operation Martillo, under operational control to U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and C4F while conducting C-TOC operations in support of Joint Interagency Task Force – South (JIATF-S), U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), and the 11th Coast Guard District.
Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by JIATF-S headquartered in Key West, Florida. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the region occur under the tactical control of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, California.
Operation Martillo is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. Military participation is being led by JIATF-S, a component of USSOUTHCOM.