USS Gary Seizes $22 Million of Narcotics During Operation Martillo, Sinks Drug Boat
The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) and its embarked U.S. Coast Guard team leveraged the capabilities of partner nations and the interagency to intercept a small drug trafficking vessel and confiscated more than 600 pounds of cocaine while on patrol in U.S. 4th Fleet while conducting Operation Martillo Jan. 4.
The estimated street value of the seizure is approximately $22 million.
"This was one of those vessels we were chasing in the dark," said USS Gary's embarked Naval Criminal Investigative Service Agent, Leatrice Daniels. "There was great open communication with everybody involved. Everything just flowed, from pursuit to initial contact and boarding."
Shortly after the intercept and search of the drug vessel and its contents, the ship was deemed a hazard to navigation and subsequently sunk. This case concluded a week in which the Gary's crew successfully boarded three vessels and disrupted the smuggling of more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine destined for the United States worth an estimated street value of $272 million.
Gary is homeported in San Diego and is currently deployed to Central and South America in support of Operation Martillo and U.S. 4th Fleet's mission, Southern Seas 2012.
Operation Martillo - Spanish for "hammer"- 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 Joint Interagency Task Force South.
Operation Martillo is part of the U.S. government's coordinated regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Security Initiative.
Fourteen countries are participating: Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.