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DATE: June 21, 2012 9:34:47 AM PDT

Coast Guard LEDET & Navy seize 1,000 pounds of cocaine

WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA – A U. S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), deployed aboard a U.S. Navy frigate, USS Elrod (FFG 55), interdicted a suspected smuggling vessel, recovered more than 1,000 pounds of cocaine, worth about $13 million, and detained four suspected smugglers in international waters, June 10. 

“Teamwork is critical to a LEDET’s operational successes,” said Cmdr. Robert Landolfi, Tactical Law Enforcement Team South’s commanding officer. “The Coast Guard and Navy partnership ensures a highly capable presence in the operational theater for sustained periods.”  

A U.S. Navy maritime patrol aircraft spotted the go-fast and the USS ELROD with its embarked LEDET moved to intercept.  ELROD launched its helicopter, with a LEDET aerial precision marksman aboard, and its small boat with a Coast Guard boarding team to track and intercept the go-fast. 

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.  U.S. maritime law enforcement and interdiction operations in the Caribbean are under the tactical control of the Seventh Coast Guard District. 

LEDETs are an armed deployable specialized force under the U.S. Coast Guard’s Deployable Operations Group. They were created to support narcotics interdiction operations aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships and are capable of supporting Department of Defense national defense operations. LEDETs provide specialized law enforcement capability and maritime security capabilities to enforce U.S. laws across a full spectrum of maritime response situations, maritime security augmentation and maritime interdiction anti-piracy operations.

Operation Martillo (Spanish for 'hammer') is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force-South, under the direction of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). Operation Martillo is part of the U.S. government's coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA – A Coast Guard law enforcement member inspects a go-fast vessel in the Western Caribbean Sea June 10, 2012 after Coast Guard law enforcement personnel with the assistance of the U.S. Navy interdicted the suspected smuggling vessel and recovered more than a 1,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $13 million. Coast Guard law enforcement detachments deploy aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships and provide specialized law enforcement capabilities to help stem the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

100610-G-XX000-038 Coast Guard and Navy team interdict $13 million of cocaine

WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA – A Coast Guard law enforcement member inspects a go-fast vessel in the Western Caribbean Sea June 10, 2012 after Coast Guard law enforcement personnel with the assistance of the U.S. Navy interdicted the suspected smuggling vessel and recovered more than a 1,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $13 million. Coast Guard law enforcement detachments deploy aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships and provide specialized law enforcement capabilities to help stem the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA – A Coast Guard law enforcement member inspects a go-fast vessel in the Western Caribbean Sea June 10, 2012 after Coast Guard law enforcement personnel with the assistance of the U.S. Navy interdicted the suspected smuggling vessel and recovered more than a 1,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $13 million. Coast Guard law enforcement detachments deploy aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships and provide specialized law enforcement capabilities to help stem the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

120610-G-XX000-043 Coast Guard and Navy team interdict $13 million of cocaine

WESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA – A Coast Guard law enforcement member inspects a go-fast vessel in the Western Caribbean Sea June 10, 2012 after Coast Guard law enforcement personnel with the assistance of the U.S. Navy interdicted the suspected smuggling vessel and recovered more than a 1,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $13 million. Coast Guard law enforcement detachments deploy aboard U.S. Navy and allied warships and provide specialized law enforcement capabilities to help stem the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. U.S. Coast Guard photo.