The Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 407 seized an estimated 2,810 kilograms of suspected cocaine, Dec. 5.
While on routine patrol, Gabrielle Giffords was diverted to intercept a low-profile vessel (LPV). Gabrielle Giffords deployed one of her helicopters, assigned to the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, to provide over watch and ensure compliance while the embarked LEDET and small boats were deployed to achieve positive control and begin boarding of the LPV.
Gabrielle Giffords and the embarked LEDET searched the vessel and recovered approximately 134 bales, for an estimated 2,810 kilograms of suspected cocaine worth over an estimated wholesale value of $106 million. Three suspected drug traffickers were also detained.
“Interdiction evolutions, no matter how often you conduct them, are different every time,” said Chief Boatswains Mate Daniel Pike, of Gabrielle Giffords. “Our team is dedicated to exemplifying the qualities of safe, professional mariners during these operations from start to finish.”
Gabrielle Giffords is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter illicit drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives.
Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, U.S. 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.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’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 region.