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Stump Intercepts Large Cocaine Shipment

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS030731-06 Release Date: 7/31/2003 9:04:00 AM

By Lt. j.g. Jennifer Brokaw, USS Stump Public Affairs

ABOARD USS STUMP (NNS) -- The Norfolk-based destroyer USS Stump (DD 978) recently confiscated more than $50 million of illegal cocaine while conducting counter-drug operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Acting on intelligence information, Stump stopped and boarded a Colombian-flagged fishing vessel suspected of smuggling illegal narcotics. U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 107 and the Stump Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team inspected the vessel. In the course of the inspection, LEDET 107 members discovered a hidden compartment in the vessel containing more than 3,500 pounds of raw cocaine, worth an estimated street value of more than $50 million.

The training received by the Stump VBSS team proved valuable, as the team safely and swiftly took positive control of the vessel and its crew.

"Our training ensures that the crew of the suspect vessel are treated fairly and safely, and that they don't pose any threats for our team," said Senior Chief Information Systems Technician (SW) John Lees, the assistant boarding officer.

With their own ship as an escort, Stump Sailors piloted the seized vessel until it, and its crew, were turned over to proper authorities.

"I feel our counter-drug deployment is important, because the flow of drugs into the United States causes crime, children with no parents and hundreds of deaths," said Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Charles Garcia.

Stump and its embarked detachment from Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42 departed their homeports of Norfolk, Va., and Mayport, Fla., June 2 for a routine six-month deployment to the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command area of responsibility, which includes the Caribbean Sea, eastern Pacific and southern Atlantic.

The team effort of Navy ships working with an embarked Coast Guard LEDET and supported by intelligence collection assets from the Joint Inter-agency Task Force South, continuously proves its value as an effective combination in the U.S. government's war against drugs.

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