By 29/04/2013 08:27:00
Contact: Wimbish, Michael D CIV USSOUTHCOM/SC-CC (L)
Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd class Brice Fronek, with Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber, guards contraband at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, April 26, 2013. The contraband was seized during an interdiction in the Caribbean Sea, April 18, 2013. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sabrina Laberdesque)
MIAMI - Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber offloaded 2,200 pounds of cocaine, seized during Operation Martillo, worth an estimated value of $27 million at Base Miami Beach, Fla., April 26.
While conducting a law enforcement patrol, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin located a 68-foot fishing vessel in the western Caribbean Sea, April 18, 2013. The crew of the Cutter Gallatin boarded the vessel, located 2,200 pounds of cocaine, and detained three suspected smugglers.
The contraband, suspected smugglers and fishing vessel were later transferred to crewmembers aboard the cutter Bernard C. Webber.
The three suspects and fishing vessel are scheduled to be transferred to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in Miami.
The seized contraband is scheduled to be transferred to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents Friday at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach, Fla.
"Working with our interagency and international partners, we detained three suspected smugglers and prevented 2,200 pounds of cocaine with a value of $27 million from reaching our streets," said Rear Adm. William D. Baumgartner, Seventh Coast Guard District commander. "While this particular drug seizure is a great success for our interagency partnerships, our focus remains on preventing the harm illicit drugs bring to our communities.," added Baumgartner.
This interdiction was carried out as part of Operation Martillo, which is one component in the United States government's whole-of-government approach to countering the use of the Central American littorals as transshipment routes for illicit drugs, weapons, and cash. Operation Martillo is an international operation focused on sharing information and bringing together air, land, and maritime assets from the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and Western Hemisphere and European partner nation agencies to counter this illicit trafficking.
The Cutter Bernard C. Webber is one of the 58 new, Sentinel-Class Fast Response Cutters replacing the Island-Class patrol boats. The FRC is capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and operating in seas up to 18-feet. Armed with a 25-mm chain gun and four .50 caliber machine guns, the Fast Response Cutter provides lethal homeland security firepower. The speed, stability and firepower of the FRC deliver tremendous lifesaving, law enforcement and homeland security capabilities in the same package.
The Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin is a 378-foot high-endurance cutter, homeported in Charleston, S.C.
The Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber is a 154-foot fast response cutter, homeported in Miami, Fla.
Medium endurance cutters like the Gallatin are built for multi-week offshore patrols including operations requiring enhanced communications, and helicopter and pursuit boat operations, which provide a key capability for homeland security missions at sea.
Byline: From a 7th Coast Guard District release
Article Date: 4/27/2013