USS McInerney Makes Biggest Seizure of Deployment
Story Number: NNS070209-02
Release Date: 2/9/2007 10:16:00 AM
By Ensign Lauren Schneider, USS McInerney Public Affairs
USS MCINERNEY, At Sea (NNS) -- USS McInerney (FFG 8) added to its string of successes on her counter-narco terrorism (CNT) deployment by supporting the seizure of 2.3 metric tons of cocaine in mid-January from a fishing vessel off the coast of Costa Rica.
Notably, this was the first joint seizure between Costa Rica and the United States.
U.S. Coast Guard boarding teams onboard McInerney safely apprehended the vessel, its contents, and personnel. According to Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) Officer in Charge, Lt. j.g. Adam Disque, “After the two other vessels we boarded turned up with negative results, we were fortuitous to interdict a vessel with contraband onboard. I knew my team and the support from McInerney’s VBSS (Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure) Team would get the job done.”
After monitoring the vessel, McInerney was given permission to board from Coast Guard District 11 and the Costa Rican government late that night. Initial inspections and tests proved that McInerney and her Coast Guard LEDET had in fact met with success. Lt. Erik Bodiscomassink, McInerney’s Engineering Officer and a Tactical Action Officer (TAO), said “Any time you approach a vessel, you’re not quite sure what you’re going to encounter. Part of you always wonders what their intentions are. Just get as much information as you can and rely on your training.”
McInerney embarked two Costa Rican Coast Guardsmen to assist in the boarding. They remained on board for several days as the case was being wrapped up, which further proved the value of combined operations in this effort. They returned home as honorary McInerney crew members.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Guiseppe Trovato, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class(SW/FMP) Christian Betancourt and Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Harvey Collazo were escorts for the Costa Ricans. Betancourt said, “We were happy to facilitate relations between their Coast Guard and McInerney. Our countries are all after the same goal and if we could help in any way to better relations and give them a great experience, we were all for it. We had a great time.”
After the seizure, McInerney safely turned over the vessel, detainees, and representative samples of the contraband to the Costa Rican government and Coast Guard.
This interdiction brings the McInerney’s total of seized contraband to 5.8 tons less than halfway through their deployment.
McInerney is deployed under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command as part of a Joint/Inter-Agency Task force conducting counter-narcotics trafficking operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
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