MIAMI, United States (CMC) — The United States Southern Command says the US Navy’s Cyclone-class patrol ship USS Shamal (PC 13), with embarked US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), has recovered more than 3,900 pounds of marijuana in the Caribbean Sea.
While on routine patrol in the Caribbean Sea, the US Southern Command on Friday said Shamal spotted a go-fast vessel (GVF).
“Once detected, the crew observed suspected drug smugglers aboard jettisoning packages overboard,” it said. “In a coordinated effort, Shamal launched their small boat, and the LEDET was deployed to the scene to further investigate.
“Upon arriving on scene, the Shamal and the embarked LEDET recovered a total of 708 bales of suspected marijuana, totaling more than 3,940 pounds worth over an estimated wholesale value of US$6.9 million.”
“The Shamal Team performed very well during the interdiction and safely boarded the vessel,” said Shamal Commanding Officer Lt Cmdr Daniel O’Neill. “We received outstanding training in preparation for this patrol, and it really motivates the Shamal team when we’re able to demonstrate our abilities with a successful bust.”
USS Shamal is deployed to the US Fourth Fleet area of operations supporting US Southern Command’s enhanced counter drug operations mission in the Caribbean.
On April 1, US Southern Command said it began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of “Presidential National Security Objectives”.
It said numerous US agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organised crime.
US Southern Command said the US Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.
“The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and US Attorneys in districts across the nation,” the US Southern Command said.
The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Caribbean Sea is conducted under the authority of the 7th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Miami.