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Homeland Security

USS Kauffman, U.S. Coast Guard Team Intercept Narcotics

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS150526-30
Release Date: 5/26/2015 3:57:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shane A. Jackson, USS Kauffman Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- In collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, the guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 59) interdicted 1,775 kg of cocaine, worth an estimated wholesale value of approximately $59 million, in international waters of the Eastern Pacific, May 16.

The suspected smuggling vessel was spotted during a routine patrol of Eastern Pacific international waters in support of Operation Martillo. Kauffman's embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) boarded the vessel and seized the illicit cargo. Three crew members of a suspected narcotic-trafficking vessel flagged out of Costa Rica were detained.

Kauffman took custody of the three crew members and recovered the illicit cargo, some of which was jettisoned overboard before the boarding of the vessel.

'This was a complex event that required assistance from several agencies in support of Kauffman and her crew in order to see the operation succeed,' said Cmdr. Michael Concannon, commanding officer of USS Kauffman. 'My crew and I feel fortunate to have captured such a large cache of drugs and those responsible for its transportation.'

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman is currently deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Martillo.

Operation Martillo, a joint, international law enforcement and military operation involving the U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nations, targets illicit trafficking routes in the waters off Central America.

Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific is done by Joint Interagency Task Force South headquartered in Key West, Florida. U.S. maritime law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations in the Eastern Pacific region occur under the tactical control of the Coast Guard 11th District headquartered in Alameda, California.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support USSOUTHCOM's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

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