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USS McClusky Off-loads Seized Narcotics in Key West

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070817-08
Release Date: 8/17/2007 12:57:00 PM

By Master Sgt. Steve Miller, JIATF-S Public Affairs and Ensign Kurt Albaugh, USS McClusky Public Affairs

KEY WEST, Fla. (NNS) -- After conducting counter narcotics operations for three months in the Eastern Pacific, Sailors of the guided- missile frigate USS McClusky (FFG 41) unloaded approximately 12 tons of seized cocaine with an estimated import value of $306 million at U.S Coast Guard Sector Key West, Aug. 6.

The combined efforts of McClusky, embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 45, Det. 4 and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments 101 and 103 are credited with interdicting four “go-fast” boats resulting in the seizure of three of 12 tons of cocaine offloaded in Key West and disrupting the smuggling activities of an additional two “go-fast” boats.

The contraband was loaded onto pallets and turned over to the custody of federal law enforcement agents.

McClusky, homeported out of San Diego, Calif., deployed in April 2007 to patrol the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific and is supporting the broader effort of U.S. law enforcement agencies and partner nations to interdict illegal contraband.

This joint effort is led by Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S), in Key-West, an interagency task force that is responsible for the detection and monitoring of suspect air and maritime drug activity in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the eastern Pacific. The command coordinated with other joint forces commands and interagency organizations to disrupt the smuggling of 99 metric tons of cocaine in 2005, and over 106 metric tons of cocaine in 2006, with 2,250 flight hours in support of the counter-narcotics mission.

The Director of JIATF-S, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Joseph Nimmich and McClusky’s commanding officer, Navy Cmdr. John Schultz, congratulated six Sailors and eight Coast Guard personnel that served on the missions and awarded each with the Navy Achievement Medal.

“McClusky had done a phenomenal job in its critical mission of keeping drugs off the streets in the United States,” said Nimmich. “The crew’s aggressive, but safety conscious teamwork is what counted in these successful seizures. Sometimes, the McClusky made as many as three boardings at one time – far exceeding the expected norm.”

McClusky is currently deployed under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, the Navy component commander for U.S. Southern Command.

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