4TH Fleet Frigate Off-Loads $114 Million in Drugs
Navy News Service
Story Number: NNS121130-03
By Mass Communications Specialist First Class Sean Allen, 4th Fleet public affairs
MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided- missile frigate USS Carr (FFG 52) and embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) offloaded 1.5 tons of cocaine and almost two tons of marijuana worth an estimated street value of $114.1 million at Naval Station Mayport Nov. 30
Carr was returning from conducting Counter Transnational Organized Crime Operations (C-TOC) in the 4th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR).
Since Operation Martillo began in January 2012, more than 134 tons of cocaine has been disrupted at an estimated street value of nearly $3.3 billion.
U.S. law enforcement agencies took custody of the drugs after they were offloaded in Mayport for transfer, testing and disposal.
Carr has been deployed since June 1, and after the offload will return to its homeport in Norfolk, Va.
The drugs were seized while the ship was assigned to U.S. 4th Fleet supporting Operation Martillo (Spanish for Hammer) in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific littoral areas off the coast of Central America. Operation Martillo is an interagency mission that began in January 2012 to combat the spread of organized crime in Central America and the use of the Central American waterways and southern approaches to Mexico and the U.S. as routes to smuggle illicit drugs, weapons, and cash.
While operating in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean, the Carr team interdicted vessels smuggling drugs to Central America and eventually to the United States. During this multinational operation, Carr worked with forces from our Partner Nations, including Panama, Colombia, and Costa Rica. In addition to Carr's interdictions, the ship disrupted the flow of 6,160 pounds of cocaine.
Cmdr. Patrick Kulakowski, commanding office of Carr talked about the teamwork involved in the deployment.
"Carr Sailors demonstrated flexibility and teamwork during this deployment, our mission required us to work with the Coast Guard, U.S. government agencies, and our partner nations. Despite the fact that this is Carr's final deployment, the crew performed as though it was the ship's first deployment," said Kulakowski.
Lt. Cmdr. Neil Kruger, executive officer of Carr emphasized how important the flexibility of the crew was to the success of the mission.
"At the beginning of the deployment we operated in the Caribbean Sea, then on short notice we received orders to the Pacific, which required us to transit the Panama Canal, we did so successfully and continued our mission where we were needed."
Senior Chief Aviation Electrician's Mate (AW) Jacob Bristow, command master chief aboard Carr talked about not only the CTOC accomplishments of Carr but other milestones the crew achieved.
"Along with our success with C-TOC operations, 92 percent of our Sailors earned their enlisted surface warfare qualifications, and 49 percent of our Sailors who took the advancement exam advanced, the crew did all this while preparing the ship for decommissioning."
Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, commander, U.S. 4th Fleet was on hand for the offload and discussed the importance of C-TOC and the success of Carr.
"Carr's deployment to Fourth Fleet in support of Operation Martillo was a huge success and demonstrates our clear commitment to work together with our partner nations and interagency community to combat the influence of organized crime and disrupt the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. More than 80 percent of the narcotics entering Central America makes its way to U.S. markets via maritime littoral routes; with the main conveyance being by speedboats and submersible vessels. By teaming up with our partner nations and allied forces to scrutinize the littorals, our goal is to deny them the ability to transit so that the sea lines are not free for illicit traffic," he said.
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, a component of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). Operation Martillo is a component of the U.S. government's coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
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