MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Four suspected smugglers could run, but could not hide as the combined forces of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy bore down on them in the western Caribbean.
In the end they were taken into custody along with more than 1,000 pounds of cocaine worth $13 million.
“The Coast Guard and Navy partnership ensures a highly capable presence in the operational theater for sustained periods,” said Cmdr. Robert Landolfi, with the Coast Guard’s Tactical Law Enforcement Team.
A Navy patrol boat spotted the suspected smugglers’ vessel on June 10th in international waters and alerted the USS Elrod which carried a team from the Coast Guard’s Law Enforcement division.
The Elrod launched a helicopter to keep ‘eyes’ on go fast boat until a small boat with a Coast Guard boarding team could intercept it.
Overall coordination of counter-drug patrols and surveillance in the Caribbean Sea is managed by Joint Interagency Task Force, South headquartered in Key West, Fla.
The Coast Guard’s Law Enforcement Detachment teams are armed deployable specialized forces created to support narcotics interdiction operations aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships. They are also capable of supporting Department of Defense national defense operations.
The interdiction was part of Operation Martillo (Spanish for ‘hammer’) which is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere effort to target traffickers in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.