Monday, July 21, 2008

USS De Wert and Colombian Navy Interdict Two Drug-Carrying Vessels

While on patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, USS De Wert (FFG 45) with embarked detachments, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 46 Det. 1 (HSL-46 Det. 1), Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 103, and Colombian Navy ship Buenaventura interdicted two go-fast vessels July 11, each carrying over one ton of cocaine.

The two suspect vessels were tracked and interdicted by the joint efforts of De Wert, HSL-46 Det. 1, LEDET 103, and Buenaventura. De Wert recovered several jettisoned bales from one of the suspect vessels. These bales were later confirmed to be cocaine. Five alleged traffickers from the second go-fast were detained on board De Wert by the crew and LEDET 103. The suspects were later transferred to another U.S. Naval vessel in the vicinity.

The six alleged traffickers from the first go-fast vessel, two tons of contraband, and both go-fast vessels were transferred to the Colombian Navy.

The coordinated actions of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) in partnership with the Colombian Navy were instrumental to the successful interdiction of over two tons of narcotics.

De Wert, homeported in Mayport, Fla., is currently deployed in Latin America under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet, conducting counter illicit trafficking operations in support of JIATF-South, U.S. law enforcement and U.S. and participating nations drug control policy.

De Wert is also supporting the U.S. Maritime Strategy by conducting Theater Security Cooperation events, such as community relations projects and Project Handclasp distributions, in the Caribbean and Latin America.