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USS Boone Interdicts 1.3 Metric Tons of Cocaine

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080609-09
Release Date: 6/9/2008 12:14:00 PM

By Ens. Emily Castro, USS Boone Public Affairs

USS BOONE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Boone (FFG 28) and embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 404 achieved their first successful interdiction of a narcotics trafficking vessel May 10.

The crew and the embarked LEDET seized an estimated 1.3 metric tons of cocaine after boarding a suspicious fishing vessel during a counter-narco terrorism (CNT) operation deployment under operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO), the naval component of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

Ens. Laura Barry, who stands watch as the crew serve weapons officer during counter drug boardings, recalls the night prior to the interdiction as "long, hot, and humid, but it was exhilarating to finally get our first bust."

When Boone's boarding team arrived on the vessel, they removed obstacles used to hide the contraband, including a thick layer of ice. Damage Controlman 1st Class Michael Kovalchik was sent over to the vessel to help melt the ice.

"It was exciting to be a part of the first bust," said Kovalchik. "I would never have guessed that I would have had the opportunity to have such a close part of it."

Boone also took aboard 8 detainees from the vessel.

Boone, homeported in Mayport, Fla., began a six-month counter-drug operations deployment to the SOUTHCOM area of focus (AOF) in early April. While deployed, Boone's crew works with other assets from Joint Interagency Task Force South, the agency responsible for counter-drug operations in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean.

U.S. Navy units regularly support CNT operations in the SOUTHCOM AOF in support of U.S. and participating nation drug law enforcement agencies.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.

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